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Neighbors: Fargo-Moorhead natives hold own on national entertainment scene

The Fargo-Moorhead region has produced its share of people who did well on the national entertainment scene, as shown by those names you folks sent in and which were published in past columns. Now, here are more.

Sam Anderson is a TV and movie actor who was born in 1945 in Wahpeton, N.D. James Erickson, Fargo, sent his name in.

Sam is a graduate of the University of North Dakota. He taught drama at Antelope Valley College, Lancaster, Calif., in the 1970s.

According to Wikipedia, Sam is best known for his roles as mailroom supervisor Mr. Gorpley in the “Perfect Strangers” TV series; as a cardiologist in “ER;” as a dentist in “Lost;” and as a hotel assistant manager in a “Star Trek” episode. He has appeared in the current series “NCIS” and is in many other TV shows and movies.

Tom Kee, Ellendale, N.D., comes up with Debra (Vick) Mooney Van Zandt, an Ellendale native who, Tom says, “has too many film and TV credits to list.”

Then there’s Alf Clausen, the composer-arranger-conductor of the music for the TV shows “The Simpsons,” “Alf,” “Moonlighting” and several others, according to Jan Parfit, formerly of Jamestown, N.D., and now of Star, Idaho.

Jan and Alf went to the same church and both were students at Jamestown High School, where they sang in the concert choir together. Jan believes he also played the French horn in the school orchestra.

He graduated in 1959, went on to graduate from North Dakota State University in 1963, earned his Ph.D. and then made it big in California in music.

In 2005, he was the cover story for International Musician magazine, the journal of the American Federation of Musicians. The story reported Alf received 25 Emmy nominations, two Emmy awards, four Annie awards, plus Grammys and Clio nominations. His compositions have appeared in dozens of feature films and countless television ads.

Jan believes he still lives in California. “He’s a great guy, as were his parents,” she says.

Know any other regional folks who made their mark on the national entertainment scene, neighbors?