La Mesa Youth Gets Disney Starring Roll

LA MESA – When Taylor Gilmore was little she seemed born for the stage. She loved performing and would create her own theatrical moments for friends and family at the drop of a hat.

Her twin brother Jared would often go along for the ride.

Jared also went along as Taylor began auditioning for child spots in modeling and commercials.
As it turned out, Taylor discovered she didn’t really like the theatrical life – dealing with strangers and all those other kids. Her parents respected her choice, but all were surprised that, in fact, Jared loved it and started displaying the kind of kid talent that turns Hollywood’s heads. Soon the family will temporarily relocate to Vancouver, Canada, where Jared will begin filming as a star in a new show Disney is preparing for Sunday night network television.

The road to stardom was quick but not easy. Commercials came first, some T-shirt modeling and then a guest appearance on a cable show. A few more audition trips to Los Angeles and suddenly Jared, a Lemon Avenue Elementary student, began living a double life: child student in his private life, regular on the hit show Madmen in his public life. His resume of performances is already quite impressive with appearances on several popular shows and a comic turn play right wing commentator Bill O'Reilly as a young boy (see photo below).  Here's a look at Jared in action:

Jared’s parents, Renee and Vincent, a homemaker and construction manager respectively, said the family has been successful in keeping Jared’s two lives pretty separate.

“Jared is just a regular kid at Lemon Avenue,’’ Vince said.

“The only kids who know about my TV work are the ones that Taylor tells about it,’’ Jared adds. “She is always telling her friends ‘we did this’ and who we met and all.’’

And Jared does remain very much the 11-year-old he is. He can engage eye-to-eye with adults, but clearly prefers to be off with his friends and neighborhood kids along Jefferson Street, a quiet neighborhood just a few blocks from Lemon Avenue Elementary.

Renee and Vincent are fully aware of the rough lives that many child stars have led after initial success as children. They say they watch other families with children in the entertainment industry who have lost perspective and are working hard to make sure Jared doesn’t go that route. He remains enrolled in Lemon Avenue and, though the family will home school during the Vancouver filming, the children will be returning to joining their classmates.

“If that becomes impossible, we’ll deal with it then,’’ Renee said, “but this is something he loves and as long as he wants to pursue it, we’ll find a way to make it work. The second he tells us he doesn’t want to do this anymore, we’re out. ’’

Jared, who can show some glimpses of focus and maturing not normally associated with pre-teens, said he plans to do acting for a while, but eventually become a director. He has already formed his own fledgling entertainment company – JSG Entertainment -- and plans to help that grow as his career continues.

Jared already has a Screen Actors Guild Award (see photo right and at award ceremony below) as a member of the Madmen cast, but he clearly has higher ambitions.

The new part with Disney came after negotiations with the Madmen producers turned into a bit of a bidding war. Madmen wanted Jared back, but could only guarantee eight or so appearances in the season, his father said. Disney was offering Jared a starring role, a big move up the entertainment acting ladder.

The new show, Once Upon A Time. . ., is a fantasy drama, Vincent Gilmore said. It begins filming July 11 and begins airing on ABC Sunday nights starting Oct. 23.

Jared will learn more about his character when filming starts this summer and his friends at Lemon Avenue may see more of him on the screen as this new Disney production, unlike Madmen, is aimed at Jared’s age group as well.

And if success continues, Jared has plans to use the money he is earning for good purposes: “I want to support cancer causes and then help the homeless,’’ he said.

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Tags: Arts, Bill O'Reilly, Disney, Jared Gilmore, Lemon Avenue Elementary, Madmen, Taylor Gilmore


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