The Examiner

Mount Kisco Native Stars in New Tyler Perry TV Series

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John Schneider
John Schneider

You may be familiar with John Schneider from his many years portraying Bo Duke on the popular television series “The Dukes of Hazard” or from his 100 appearances on “Smallville.”

Or maybe you know him as a country music singer who has nine studio albums to his credit or about his efforts on behalf of the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, an organization he co-founded in 1982 with Marie Osmond that is the largest children’s charity in the world and has raised $3.7 billion to assist suffering children.

If not, then maybe you know him from around Mount Kisco during his childhood.

Schneider, 53, is the star of the new Tyler Perry series “The Haves and the Have Nots,” which debuted May 28 on the Oprah Winfrey Network. The show airs every Tuesday at 9 p.m. All 16 of the first season’s episodes have been filmed.

Schneider’s character, Jim Cryer, the patriarch of a wealthy Georgia family, is an unabashed villain. A crew member working on the series described Cryer as more evil than J.R. Ewing of “Dallas” fame.

“I have absolutely no morals,” Schneider said. “I have no conscience.”

Schneider said he was happy to play against type and portray a bad guy for one of the few times in his career. While he has previously played characters who possess a dark side, none have been as evil as Cryer.

And what is Schneider’s reaction to playing a villain? “I love it,” he said.

The series premiere last week attained the highest rating for any show’s opening episode in the history of the Oprah Winfrey Network.

Although Schneider has gone on to stardom for more than three decades, he fondly remembers his youth playing in Leonard Park and attending Fox Lane Middle School. His attraction to the entertainment world began when as a child he performed magic shows for friends and relatives.

Schneider and his family moved to Georgia when he was 14 and he now resides in Baton Rouge, La. Schneider said he hasn’t been in contact with his boyhood pals lately, but would like to catch up with them in the near future when he has a chance.

While he hasn’t lived in Westchester for decades, a horror film he has recently written and will direct, “Smothered,” brought him back to his childhood days, which is part of the inspiration for the movie. Growing up, Schneider spent lots of time at Clark Funeral Home in Katonah where his grandfather, Michael Dugan, worked as the home’s service manager.

Directing is foreign to Schneider. He has also directed for television, including the final “Dukes of Hazard” episode in 1985.

“Smothered,” a theatrical feature he described as a “horror comedy,” turns on the stereotypical horror film on its head, Schneider said. A common horror plot has a group of college kids getting killed one by one by a serial killer. But the tables are turned on a group of serial killers who meet bad fates at the hands of a co-ed in a recreational vehicle park.

Schneider said he hopes to obtain a distributor for “Smothered” in order to release the film later this year.



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