METRO PODCAST | Thorne Dreyer : Houston-raised actress Cindy Pickett was Ferris
Bueller’s mom

The daughter of Houston acting teacher Cecil Pickett, Cindy starred in ‘Guiding Light,’ ‘St. Elsewhere,’ and Roger Vadim’s erotic thriller, ‘Night Games.’

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Cindy Pickett on Rag Radio in the studios of KOOP 91.7-FM in Austin, Oct. 3, 2014. Photos by Roger Baker / The Rag Blog.

Interview by Thorne Dreyer | The Rag Blog | November 4, 2014

Our Rag Radio podcast features actress Cindy Pickett, whose father was the revered Houston director and acting teacher, Cecil Pickett.

Cindy may be best known for her role as Katie Bueller, Ferris’ mom in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. She also starred as Valerie St. John in Roger Vadim’s erotic cult film, Jeaux de Nuit/Night Games, and as Dr. Jane Norris in the sci-fi film, DeepStar Six, and had featured roles in the soap opera Guiding Light and the Emmy-winning series, St. Elsewhere


Download the podcast of our October 3, 2014 Rag Radio interview with Cindy Picket here — or listen to it here:


Rag Radio is a weekly hour-long syndicated radio program produced and hosted by Rag Blog editor Thorne Dreyer. The show is produced in the studios of KOOP 91.7-FM, a cooperatively-run all-volunteer community radio station in Austin, Texas, and is first broadcast live on KOOP every Friday from 2-3 p.m. (CT).


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Cindy Pickett with Rag Radio’s Schulz, left, and Dreyer.

On the show, Cindy relates humorous and touching anecdotes from a lifetime in show business (her first appearance on stage was at age six).

She discusses her professional and personal relationship with noted director Roger Vadim, who had previously been involved with actresses Brigitte Bardot, Catherine Deneuve, and Jane Fonda; her transition from stage to soap opera (the soaps, she tells us, provide a perfect training ground for film), and on to work in television and movies; and her on-set courtship with and marriage to Lyman Ward, who was Ferris Bueller’s dad in the iconic film.

And Cindy shares memories of her father, the late Cecil Pickett, whose work as an acting coach and director at Houston’s Bellaire High School (Houston theater-goers called it “Little Broadway,” Cindy says) and the University of Houston made him a legend, especially among those who were inspired by his teaching or directly experienced his often dazzling stagings. Cecil Pickett taught a virtual Who’s Who of actors including the Quaid brothers, Dennis and Randy.

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Cecil Pickett.

Cindy Pickett won critical acclaim for her role in the television movie, I Know My First Name is Steven, and was featured as Jackie Marler-Spaulding on the ’70s television soap, Guiding Light, and as Dr. Carol Novino on the Emmy-winning ’80s drama series, St. Elsewhere.

Cindy also had featured roles in Stephen King’s Sleepwalkers and in the television series, Call to Glory — and in dozens more films, television movies, and TV series.

With her current projects Cindy would seem to be completing a circle (“I’m channeling my father,” she says). She is working on an independent film being made in Oklahoma, in which she plays a drama teacher who mentors a Native American child with a special gift. Also, for the last three years Cindy has been finishing a screenplay — which was a work-in-progress by her father and which she plans to produce. The story is based on Cecil Pickett’s childhood in Oklahoma, a coming-of-age tale about a teacher who inspired him in much the way he has inspired so many others.

Other notable students of Cecil Pickett — who taught and directed at Houston’s Bellaire High School and then at the University of Houston — include Dennis Quaid, Randy Quaid, Brent Spiner (Data from Star Trek), Trey Wilson, Brett Cullen, Robert Wuhl, Annalee Jefferies, JoBeth Williams, Susan Tolsky, Alan Haufrect, producer-director Thomas Schlamme (The West Wing), and new-age writer and activist Marianne Williamson.

Perhaps a tad less notable is Rag Radio host Thorne Dreyer, who was a classmate of Cindy’s at Bellaire where they both studied acting and theater arts under her father.


Glenn Smith mic small cropAlso listen to the podcast of our October 17, 2014 show featuring Rag Radio political analyst Glenn Smith, director of the Progress Texas PAC, who discusses politics both Texan and national — and the 2014 elections. Download it here or listen to it here:


Coming up on Rag Radio:

  • FRIDAY, Nov. 7: Music journalist, rock historian, and ‘Fresh Air’ commentator, Ed Ward.
  • FRIDAY, Nov. 21: Tom Philpott and Raj Patel on the politics of food.

853px-Rag_radio2Rag Radio is hosted and produced by Thorne Dreyer, a pioneering Sixties underground journalist who was founding “funnel” of the original Rag in 1966 and now edits The Rag Blog and is a director of the New Journalism Project. Tracey Schulz is the show’s engineer and co-producer, Roger Baker is staff photographer, and noted investigative journalist Ken Martin is the Rag Radio apprentice.

Rag Radio has aired more than 200 shows since September 2009, on KOOP 91.7-FM in Austin, Texas. Rag Radio is broadcast live every Friday from 2-3 p.m. (CT) on KOOP — and streamed live on the web — and is rebroadcast and streamed on Sundays at 10 a.m. (ET) on WFTE, 90.3-FM in Mt. Cobb, PA, and 105.7-FM in Scranton, PA. Rag Radio is also aired and streamed on KPFT-HD3 90.1 — Pacifica radio in Houston — on Wednesdays at 1 p.m. (CT).

After broadcast, all Rag Radio shows are posted as podcasts at the Internet Archive.

Rag Radio is produced in association with The Rag Blog, a progressive Internet newsmagazine, and the New Journalism Project, a Texas 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation.

Please contact us at ragradio@koop.org.

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