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Kristen Vigard

Kristen Vigard was born on May 15, 1963 in St. Paul Minnesota to Ronald
and Mary Vigard. The family lived in St. Paul and then moved to
Rochester, MN. Her father worked for 3M Company and his work took them
to live in Makati in the Philippines. Kristen and her mother traveled by
ocean liner via Hawaii and then on to Hong Kong and ending their journey
in Manila/Makati where they lived for 4 years. During that time Kristen
traveled with her father to Bagio, a resort area in the Philippines and
then onto one of the “Wonders of the World” the famed rice terraces of
the Ifugao people. They have worked for 2000 years carving the rice
terraces in this remote mountain area, where few have ever ventured and
some never returned. She spent time in Afghanistan visiting her mother’s
sister and family and on her return to the states she spent several days
in Tehran, Iran where she ran into a friend she had met on one of her
trips, a sheik, who was gracious enough to give them a grand tour of the
city. She moved to Los Angeles, CA where she lived one block from the
Whisky A Go Go, in 1968. Wow! She then traveled to Madrid, Spain where
she learned Spanish and how to ride a bike with her father’s new wife’s
family, Miguel and Maria del Mar, her step brother and sister. Then off
to Washington, D.C. where her father lived in Georgetown. She attended a
bi-lingual international school. Finally arriving in New York City where
she spent her school years, living on Great Jones Street and the Bowery,
in an industrial loft. She lived around the corner from her aunt, Kate
Millett and her husband Fumio Yoshimura, the renowned artist from Japan.
Kate Millett wrote the groundbreaking book, Sexual Politics and was the
first American woman to graduate from Oxford University in London
England with “First Honors”. Her mother, now Mallory Jones, was active
in the avant-garde theater, where Kristen debuted at 6 ½ as a carrot in
a play written by Charles Mingus III (son of the famed musician) at La
Mama Etc. The play featured Candy Darling, Holly Woodlawn and Jackie
Curtis. She was then cast as Toto in a satirical version of the Wizard
of Oz, called The Wizard of U.S.. In this production she sang on stage
for the first time that classic song “Get Happy”. This production took
place in the Mercer Art Center during the time when the New York Dolls
performed there. Harvey Fierstein was working out his torch song
trilogy, in the building, as well. She spent a summer in Bogota and
Medellin, Colombia, visiting family friends and it was there where she
learned how to ride bare back across the country side with her friend
Chucho Uribe. Back in New York that fall she understudied a role in
Joseph Papp’s Public Theater production of “A Wedding Band” starring
Ruby Dee. The young actress that she was understudying became ill and
Kristen completed the run. Around this time she joined the Thirteenth
Street Theater Reparatory Co., Edith O’Hara’s home for developing
artists. Kristen performed in many productions such as: “The Cowgirl and
The Tiger”, “A Christmas Carol”, “100 Miles from Nowhere” and “The Cat
in The Castle.” She also worked at the Circle In The Square Theater in a
children’s play called “The Cavern Of The Jewels." She spent a summer
performing at the Berkshire Theater Festival in a production, directed
by Wilford Leache, of Lillian Hellman’s “The Children’s Hour”. Kristen
played Mary Tilford, starring along side Joanne Woodward and Shirley
Knight. One day, while performing at the 13th Street Theater, she was
approached by Claudia Black, the booker for the Ford Modeling Agency and
became one of the original children to form the Children's Division at
Ford Models along with Brooke Shields and Rickie Schroeder. Many
weekends she would travel with her dad to their home at the
Battlegrounds in Waitsfield, Vermont to relax and ski. On one very cold
day she won the Bronze medal on a NASTAR, East Coast Regional
Competition giant slalom course. Of course, it was so cold that day that
there were only three people competing in that age group, but it all
counts. Her manager, Cathy Dowd, began to send her out on commercial
auditions, the first of which she got (a Wheaties commercial) and many
soon after. In fact, she did 28 commercials in only six weeks. Her very
first big musical audition was for a new play, opening at the Goodspeed
Opera House in Connecticut called “Annie”. She landed the title roll,
but soon grew out of the role. The show opened on Broadway thirteen
months later Andrea McArdle in the lead role. She was then cast by Fred
Roos in a minor role in her first feature film, Francias Ford Coppola’s
masterpiece “The Black Stallion”, but, at the same time got a roll in a
“made for television” movie, starring with Henry Fonda called “Home to
Stay”. Both productions, oddly enough, were being filmed in the same
region of Canada, so she said yes to both even though they were
scheduled to shoot at the same time. Luckily the schedules of the two
productions changed just enough, by chance, that she was able to do
both. On her return to New York, Kristen saw the open call ad in the
“trades”, required by the union, for the continuing production of Annie.
She went to the audition and not seeing any familiar faces, composed a
letter with her mother to Martin Charnin telling him not to feel
uncomfortable asking her for help, should he need it, during his up
coming production in Washington D.C. at the Kennedy Center. He was so
touched by her letter that he called soon after and offered her the
position of stand-by for the role of “Annie” on the journey to Broadway.
She enjoyed the back of the theater and became the “Ambassador to Annie”
as she shared the audience with such dignitaries as Indira Gandhi, Henry
Kissinger, President Ford, President and Mrs. Carter, who brought Amy
twice, once with her whole class. Amy invited the “Annie” orphans to the
White House to play in her tree house and them they were all invited on
a private tour of the Senate as well. “Annie” opened on Broadway and the
rest was history. Kristen remained employed for one year as stand-by.
Her father was attending the play for the first time on his birthday
when Andrea, who had injured herself during the matinee, could not
perform the evening show. Kristen stepped into the role of Annie for the
first time on Broadway that evening and played to a full house including
Mohammed Ali. He came back stage after the performance to meet the whole
cast which was a great thrill for her. Her father later told her that
when he was in the lobby before the play and heard them announce that
she was to play the part he almost fainted. That summer she traveled to
Florida to star in an After School Special called “Cruise of the
Courageous”. During the filming she met Salty the Sea Lion and Flipper.
On her return to New York in 1977 she was cast in the Broadway revival
of “Hair” where she received rave revues for her rendition of “Frank
Mills”. She was then reunited with Martin Charnin in a Broadway
production, starring Liv Ullmann, of “I Remember Mama”. She performed in
the role of Katrina. It was Richard Roger’s last musical on Broadway. It
opened in Philadelphia and continued on to New York for a fairly short
run. Kristen left the show one month before it closed to have a spinal
fusion operation to correct her scoliosis. She wore a full body cast for
eight months, yet continued on in her normal life as a high school
student at Friends Seminary. Under the Carter administration a luxury
apartment building in Manhattan was set aside for the exclusive use for
the performing artist and those who supported the performing arts, i.e.;
ushers, wardrobe etc…, Kristen was personally invited with Mrs. Mondale
to cut the ribbon on the new government subsidy. Not long after her
recovery she started a two year contract on the long running soap opera
“The Guiding Light”, (CBS) as Morgan Richards. She played opposite Kevin
Bacon and John Wesley Shipp amongst others. During that run she appeared
with two other young ladies on the cover of People Magazine. (1978) The
issue was called “Torrid Teens of the Soaps”, about how soap opera’s
were no longer just for housekeepers, as college students and others had
started to be drawn into the stories. She was also named by TV Guide as
“one of the ten most beautiful women on television” while she was
performing in the “Soaps”. After that contract she took two years off to
finish high school, but then was called by Mary Jo Slater to fill in on
“One Life To Live” (ABC) the role of Tina, when Andrea Evans became ill.
They were so impressed with Kristen that they later created a roll for
her and a two year contract as Joy O’Neill. She attended the Juilliard
School of Music Extension Program where she studied classical
orchestration and music listening. She then had a cameo roll in a made
for television Movie of the Week, “License To Kill”, starring James
Farentino, Penny Fuller and Don Murray. In this dramatic piece she
portrayed a young high school student struck down and killed by a drunk
driver. A decent citizen who had made the mistake of taking advantage of
the drinking laws at that time in Texas. The State of Texas sent her a
Certificate of Honor for her participation in a drama that played a part
in changing the controversial drinking laws in Texas. She acted as guest
star in several episodic television shows, such as Fame, The Equalizer
and Amazing Stories. She was then cast in her first major role in a
major motion picture, The Survivors. She played Candice Paluso, Walter
Mattheau’s daughter. The film was a vehicle for Robin Williams’ talents
early in his movie career. It also featured Jerry Reed, the country
singer, as the villain. When she was 21 she traveled to Europe on her
own and spent time in London and Paris. In Paris she sang in the streets
as well as in a few little “club de jazz” including a great gig at Le
Pidgeon Bleu. She then returned (reluctantly) to New York after eight
months. Back in New York, the experience in Paris still fresh in her
mind, she started to study standard jazz in many small clubs in
Manhattan including the “Barry Harris Jazz Institute”. Soon after, she
moved to Los Angeles and told her agents that she was taking a break
from acting to focus her attention on music. She then spent time in the
underground night club circuit performing in clubs such as Egg Salad,
Babylon, Heaven and Funky Reggae, Poo Nah Nah Sook, Fais Do Do, The
Mint, Flaming Collasas and many others. During this time she performed
with many interesting characters and was finally invited to join an
eclectic group called Trullio Disgracias. This band included 28 official
members and countless unofficial members, some of which included members
of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Fishbone, Thalonias Monster. One night
while playing with this group she was scouted by Jaime Cohen and offered
a record deal with Private Music, Peter Bowman of Tangerine Dreams
wonderful new company. On the same night she was offered a position as
background singer on the Mother’s Milk Tour with the Red Hot Chili
Peppers and so she went touring with the “Peppers”. On completion of her
debut album, an unmarketably diverse collection songs, it was chosen by
Playboy Magazine as one of the top 100 albums of the year and enjoyed a
brief charting in the low 20’s of adult contemporary on Billboard’s
listing. The album was produced by Carmen Rizzo, Jr. 50 musicians played
on the album including members of Fishbone, “The Peppers”, Robin
Williamson, Novi Novag, Carmen Rizzo Jr., David Colman, Robert Hays,
“Amp” Fiddler, Jeffrey Connors, Scott Mayo, James Gray, Chris Bruce,
Kendall Ray Jones, Reggie Young, Windy City Horns, Bobby Martin, Suzie
Katayama, Dorian Holley, Darryle Phinnessee, Carl Carlwell, Greg Bell,,
Allen Kamai, Paulette Gershen, Kimberly Brewer, Julie Delgado, John
O’Brien, Ira Ingber, Chris Bruce, Jade, John Bigham, Jill Jones, Judy
Gamerol, Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, Jimmy Z, Carla Azar, Charlie Drayton, John
Barnes, Joel Derouin, Nakka Sahn, Sam Taylor, Kelly Inman, John Melvoin,
Phillip Dwight Fisher, Joseph “Ziggy” Modeliste, John Norwood Fisher,
“Fish”, Larry Taylor, Eddie Betist, Angelo Moore, Fernando Pullum, who
also did all the horn arrangements, a duet with Anthony Kiedis. One of
Kristen’s favorite songs on the album, “Slave To My Emotions”, a ballad
co-written and produced by John Frusciante, turned out to be his debut
recording! Kristen traveled to Europe with a small band including
Jeffrey Conners and Catherine Ann Cederquist opening for Taj Mahal in
Paris and performing live on the radio in Amsterdam. Over the next few
years Kristen both sang and composed on several sound track albums
including: “Cool Blue”, Dr. Giggles, Clueless, Ladybugs. She also worked
with many gifted song writers and musicians including: David Bearwald,
Will Sexton, George Clinton, Richard Boston, Larry Klein, Ira Engbert,
Cindy Lou, Soloman Mansoor, Bill Preskill, Pablo Calogero, Arturo
O’Farrill, Leon Blue, Moses Armstrong, John Goodwin and Chris Bejole,
just to name a few. In 1997 she was hired to do the “singing voice” for
the actress Illeana Douglas in an Allison Anders film, Executive
Producer Martin Scorsese. Illeana played the lead character, a singer
and song writer, in New York, during the famous Brill building era.
Songs for her character were composed by such greats as Joni Mitchell,
Bert Bacharach, Elvis Costello and Los Lobos. One song written by the
duo of Bacharach and Costello “God Give Me Strength” was nominated for
an academy award for composition.

Two of the four songs in the movie made it to the sound track album sung
by Kristen, “Man From Mars” and “Boat On The Sea” (written by David
Baerwald and Larry Klein). All of the music in the film was beautifully
produced by Larry Klein. Kristen gave birth, in St. Johns Hospital in
Santa Monica, CA, to a healthy, seven pound, ten ounce baby girl on June
21, 1999 and named her Emily Rose. The two currently live on the upper
east side of Manhattan where Emily now attends kindergarten in Mindy’s
class. Several recording projects are in the works, one out of Chicago
with Bill Preskill and one recently completed with Chris Bejole, “God,
Loves and Angels” available on Apple itunes.