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community treasures

CONTINUED

SUSAN BAER COLLINS AND CARL BECK Change of scene They were still in Atlanta when they decided to collaborate on a new project: starting a family. “We were working in television when Ben was born because it was the first time that we ever had insurance,” Collins said. “We figured that if we were ever going to have a kid, we better do it now, because we had insurance and we had these full-time jobs. And when will that ever happen again?” Their son was born in 1983, which proved to be a pivotal year for the couple in other ways. The offer from Jones to come to Omaha beckoned, and Collins wanted to live closer to her mother in Lincoln, who was in declining health. Collins already was fond of Nebraska; she is originally from Detroit (no, she’s not related to the Omaha Baer family of Brandeis fame, although people still occasionally ask) but her physician father’s job with the Veterans Administration brought her to the state as a youth. “We settled in Lincoln when I was a junior in high school, so Nebraska’s pretty much home,” she said. Beck, on the other hand, is a transplanted Southerner who grew up in Louisiana and Oklahoma, although there’s not a trace of accent left. “When family gets back together, it comes in out loud,” he said.

Second act Collins said she wishes now that she had completed her studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, but the theater drew her away at a young age. “My dad’s father and mother really pushed him hard to become a doctor and I don’t know if that’s really what he wanted to do. So I really appreciated that they (my parents) didn’t try to talk me out of it,” she said. “They didn’t blink an eye.”

CARL BECK IN MERTON OF THE MOVIES WITH DAVE WINGERT AND PAM CARTER

“My parents wanted me to go into law and that didn’t last. And I had five other majors in college,” Beck said. “Then finally they threw in the towel or threw up their hands. Or something was thrown. And I ended up getting a degree in theater.” The fact that Beck’s sister had some theater experience and that Collins’ mother had degree in speech and drama helped smooth their own youthful paths to entertainment careers. And when their son Ben decided to follow in their footsteps, in a fashion–he works in entertainment production and is involved in local theater, plus earned a degree from the theater program at the University of Nebraska at Omaha–they embraced his career choices, although not without some good-natured ribbing. “Wouldn’t you like to go to med school?” Collins joked. Added Beck, “Theater people cheer when their children go into other areas.” All kidding aside, both Beck and Collins said Ben’s interest in theater was probably inevitable and they’ve enjoyed supporting him from the wings.

CARL BECK IN MERTON OF THE MOVIES

“Ben frequently came to the Playhouse after school and he would do his homework; he was kind of raised by a village. Everybody kept an eye on him and there were a lot of other kids doing exactly the same thing.” Beck said.

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metroMAGAZINE • JUNE 2014

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metroMAGAZINE's June 2014 Issue  

metroMAGAZINE's June 2014 Issue is online now! metroMAGAZINE is published monthly by ALH Publications, serving the Omaha/Lincoln/Council Blu...

metroMAGAZINE's June 2014 Issue  

metroMAGAZINE's June 2014 Issue is online now! metroMAGAZINE is published monthly by ALH Publications, serving the Omaha/Lincoln/Council Blu...

Profile for metmago