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Mandy Patinkin: Seeing the light

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The one item left in my notebook from last night’s Golden Globe madness was my favorite moment on the carpet — a few precious minutes of quality time with Mandy Patinkin and his wife, thesp Kathryn Grody.

A conversation with Patinkin isn’t easily digested into pithy soundbites.

Patinkin had a wide smile underneath his bushy Sal Berenson beard as he and Grody made their way down the press line. And what’s not to be happy about? He’s doing what he feels is important work on “Homeland.” “I’ve never gotten more reaction to anything I’ve ever done,” he asserted. Really? After all that time on stage and screen? Yes, he said. “I’m humbled by the recognition.” He loves the ambiguity of the good vs. evil questions that “Homeland” tackles — “it’s the ambiguity that keeps people tuning in, I’m convinced of it. It makes you think.”

As far as the all-important question of what happens to his beard during “Homeland’s” hiatus — well, it’s staying, for now. Patinkin started working on a movie — Fisher Stevens’ adaptation of Philip Roth’s “American Pastoral” — even before “Homeland” wrapped.

“I told them if they wanted me they had to buy the beard,” he joked. So the salt-and-pepper stays at least until the movie wraps, if not longer, Patinkin said.

Patinkin was also full of excitement because he and Grody are heading off this week (or if not this week soon) to Fairbanks, Alaska to experience the Northern Lights. Their eagerness about the trip was palpable, not only because the astral spectacle only happens once every dozen years or so, but because they are also off to visit their son. He works in Alaska with a program that takes at-risk kids into wilderness settings in an effort to help them see a different side of life. Patinkin’s pride as he talked up his son’s work was infectious, reminding us that “Dad” is one of his many job descriptions.

 

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