Deborah Pratt is a woman of many talents. Since moving from Chicago to Hollywood in the early ‘70s, she’s worked as a singer, dancer, writer and actor and has gone on to direct TV movies such as Masterpiece Theater’s acclaimed Cora Unashamed. She was executive producer and writer for the Emmy nominated time travel show Quantum Leap, which ran on NBC television from 1989 through 1993. In 2006, she added novel writing to her long list of accomplishments with the publication of her first Vision Quest novel, The Age of Light. The Odyssey and Secret of the Celians have since been published to complete the Vision Quest trilogy.
Having long been an admirer of Ms. Pratt’s work, I was thrilled when she agreed to answer questions via email regarding her life, career and goals for the future.
You started out in Hollywood in 1973 as one of Dean Martin’s “Golddiggers”. How long did that last? Are you happy to have worked in this capacity for that period of your professional life and do you feel the experience helped you as a writer?
I was part of a nation wide search for talent (very early American Idol). They found me among 500 ladies in Chicago and flew me out. I worked for about 18 months with 7 women, many of whom I still stay in touch with. The work supported and encouraged my ability to write songs, sing and dance my way through Hollywood and that lead me into acting. The lack of roles for woman lead me into screenwriting, producing, directing and now novel writing.
How did you make the transition from singer/dancer to actress/writer?
I always wanted to be an actress and, again, the lack of quality roles especially for women of color was beyond frustrating. I worked a good deal as an actress in both comedy and drama. When I had the opportunity to be a regular on Airwolf and Magnum PI, I pitched and got to write episodes. They were originally vehicles for me but blossomed into an opportunity to give woman a stronger place in action adventure.
When you started out in Hollywood was it difficult for a woman to be taken seriously if she wanted to be more than ‘just a pretty face’?