Harley Jane Kozak was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in Nebraska (except for 3 cold years in North Dakota) and at age 19 ditched the cornfields for New York City. She spent three fabulous years at NYU’s School of the Arts Graduate Acting Program, described on the NYU website as “an exhilarating mix of the monastic and the outgoing” which Harley feels also describes the life of an actor. At age 28, she moved to L.A. for a job, and . . . stayed.

She starred or co-starred in a few dozen feature films (PARENTHOOD, ARACHNOPHOBIA, THE FAVOR, etc.), three soaps (TEXAS, GUIDING LIGHT, SANTA BARBARA), many commercials, countless plays, and a whole lotta TV before taking a 15-year maternity leave and turning to a life of crime (fiction). She’s written five mystery novels—her first, Dating Dead Men, won the Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards—and her short prose has appeared in Ms. Magazine, The Sun, The Santa Monica Review, and eight anthologies, including Best American Mystery Stories of 2019.

If Harley’s dual careers of writing and acting have taught her anything, it’s that the art of storytelling is a fine one to dedicate a life to, but that people drawn to it need the support of community. As she says, “The civilian world is not always your cheerleader. Your family may or may not be. Ditto your landlord. An actor between jobs—or in the midst of a job, or on the hunt for a job—can be a lonely creature. An actor unable to practice her craft can be a miserable one. Actors, like wolves, are pack animals. BGB studio is a home, a gym, a stage, and a sanctuary, and I love being part of a culture that so adores actors and their idiosyncratic souls.”

Taking a class with Harley is not an audition or employment opportunity and there is no suggestion or guarantee of an audition or employment as a result of taking her classes.

Meet Risa and Steve at the Studio

Once a month, Risa and Steve offer an opportunity for you to come by the studio, sit down with them and find out more about the amazing work going on at The BGB Studio. Join us.