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Andrew Heller: “Don’t let the bastards get you down”

Well I wish I had been told that my road was going be rough. The fires I’d have to walk through would blister me badly. My faith would be rattled to its core. My physical and emotional state would be tested daily and my desire diminished to the point of wanting to throw in the […]

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Well I wish I had been told that my road was going be rough. The fires I’d have to walk through would blister me badly. My faith would be rattled to its core. My physical and emotional state would be tested daily and my desire diminished to the point of wanting to throw in the towel. I remember the words of my mother when I was in my teens, “Don’t let the bastards get you down.” I was turned down many times in many forms in audition. I was too young, too old, too thin, too fat. Too hairy, not hairy enough … etc, etc, etc. Faith and self belief pulled me through.


As a part of our series about stars who are making an important social impact, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Andrew Heller.

Andrew Heller started in the film industry while growing up in South Africa with his Mother and Father. Since the age of two, Andrew has been a part of that community which led him to his induction into SAG in 1988. From there his career grew and allowed him to work with many well-known actors and actresses. Andrew has followed his passion for the theater through his work teaching film and television with the very same enthusiasm that helped him excel throughout his career. The drive that motivates Andrew in all aspects of life has given him the inspiration needed to reach new heights, whether it’s as a Cameraman, Actor or Director, Andrews’ passion for the theater shines through on every project he is part of. When he is not working, he likes to spend his time helping others who want to grow and better themselves through knowledge and inspiration about the film industry. His latest foray is to Produce a film he wrote, which is also a book called ‘A Gift Of The Heart’. His aim to use a substantial amount of the net proceeds to assist children with cancer and families in need. Website: www.agiftoftheheart.com


Thank you so much for joining us! Can you share with us the “backstory” that led you to this career path?

My mother was heavy into the arts when I was born. Running and directing a theatre company which did mostly Cabaret. I grew up in musical theatre and developed my love for theatre then. As a consequence I got into singing as well at a very early age.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career? What was the lesson or take away that you took out of that story?

Funny! I must have been maybe ten years old and I was learning to play the piano. I was rehearsing in the Gym at my boarding school. The piano was eerily echoing inside when I saw a white shadow drift across the building. Of course, at ten, ha ha, I panicked. I thought I had seen a ghost. Funnily enough I never went back to the piano. I then pursued my acting vigorously.

What would you advise a young person who wants to emulate your success?

NEVER give up. I think consistency and learning are your greatest tools and if you stay persistent you will succeed. law of averages I believe.

Is there a person that made a profound impact on your life? Can you share a story?

I think it would be unfair really, since I have been fortunate to meet so many greats who all had good guidance. My mom obviously, but early on I had a teacher who made a huge impact on my career. That man was, Eric Morris. His ability to explain and exploit true emotion was uncanny. He really helped me break out the ‘Real’ actor inside.

How are you using your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share with us the meaningful or exciting causes you are working on right now?

I guess you could say my purpose and my expertise has now become my mission. That mission being to help support as many families going through the anguish of fighting cancer and helping children as much as I can. I guess the sad part is I can’t stop it, but I can help the financial pain that goes with it.

My aim is to touch as many hearts as I can. That being said, one of my favorite charities is ‘The Lost Travelers Club’. This charity is headed by Henry-Cameron Allen, who lost his son to brain cancer. (Glioblastoma Multiforme.) I also reach out to other small charities as they tend to be left out a lot. I hope to form my own one day soon.

Can you share with us the story behind why you chose to take up this particular cause?

I lost my mom to cancer in 1994, at the age of sixty three. That, in and of itself, was a life changing moment. She was my biggest fan. During the following years I lost a good friend mine in 2012 to cancer, at the age of sixty. As recently as May17th of this year, (2020), I lost my dear sister to cancer at the young age of sixty five.

Can you share with us a story about a person who was impacted by your cause?

In the efforts of their privacy I shall only mention their first names. Most recently in the last year I held two fundraisers for two ladies fighting cancer. One of them had breast cancer, and Tanya in multiple places in her body. Both Melanie and Tanya fought courageously. Melanie managed to beat it, but unfortunately in March of this year Tanya lost her battle and passed away.

Are there three things that individuals, society or the government can do to support you in this effort?

Oh my gosh. Probably a hundred. Lol. I’m going to take a little liberty here if you don’t mind. Every individual can support my purpose and mission by going to my website listed above and purchasing a book or some merchandise. Those monies help the mission. As far as government is concerned I’d say … “Get out of the way and let the doctors cure this already.” For individuals as a whole, be caring, be faithful, be loving and give what you can when you can even if it’s just a smile or a prayer.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or an example for each.

Well I wish I had been told that my road was going be rough. The fires I’d have to walk through would blister me badly. My faith would be rattled to its core. My physical and emotional state would be tested daily and my desire diminished to the point of wanting to throw in the towel. I remember the words of my mother when I was in my teens, “Don’t let the bastards get you down.” I was turned down many times in many forms in audition. I was too young, too old, too thin, too fat. Too hairy, not hairy enough … etc, etc, etc. Faith and self belief pulled me through.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I believe I’m doing it now with trying to get my film done. ‘A Gift of The Heart’. It’s message of compassion, humility and humanity. It’s mission to send the world a message, we need more love and compassion.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you explain how that was relevant in your life?

That’s funny actually. I have many. I came up with quirky little sayings I call my ‘Mahatma Andy’ moments. “I am tired, but not beaten. I am scared, but not afraid. I am struggling, but not dead. I am, who I will always be, true to myself.” I think it sums up my life in that you can’t live in someone else’s shoes when yours a tattered and torn. We must learn to walk and live in our own. I guess I’m still learning.

We are blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Politics, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Oh my gosh! So many people’s names jump out at me. For me, in this moment, it would be Ellen DeGeneres. Why? She came from a place that was frowned upon. She made a name, a career and a place for many who followed in her footsteps. That takes smarts, courage and faith. Yes, Ellen DeGeneres is a person I would love to have lunch with.

Thank you so much for these amazing insights. This was so inspiring, and we wish you continued success!

Thank you for your graciousness and kindness in letting me share a small part of my life with you and your readers. May you be blessed every day.

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