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Oscar-Nominated Actor And DeKalb Native Richard Jenkins Speaks At NIU

An Emmy Award-winning and Oscar-nominated actor and Illinois native returned to his hometown Tuesday and shared insights with students at Northern Illinois University. 

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Credit Claire Buchanan
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Richard Jenkins was born and raised in DeKalb and attended Illinois Wesleyan University. He later embarked on a career in theater, film, and television that now spans more than forty years and 111 credited screen roles — and counting.

Jenkins told the students at the NIU School of Theatre and Dance that acting was a precarious field -- and a crowded one. He recalled an early attempt to break into films in Los Angeles that failed. He said, “That L.A. trip really made me realize how helpless I was to control my fate, my own career. But what I could control is my talent.”

Jenkins said concentrating on how to be better at his art put him in a position to succeed. He advised the students to do the same.

Jenkins was in town for the final showing in the Egyptian Theatre’s Richard Jenkins Film Series, which featured movies picked by Jenkins as his personal favorites.