A Friend Indeed
Since his cinematic debut in a Golden Globe-nominated role in the 1978 film King of the Gypsies, Eric Roberts has had a prolific award-winning career spanning movies, television and theater. The actor, who served as Grand Marshal of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Collier County’s tenth annual walk in March, and his wife, Eliza, return to Naples December 7. Roberts, who has publicly addressed the effects of his attention deficit disorder and other issues, will speak at NAMI’s Celebration of Friends luncheon at the Hilton Naples. A strong advocate of early mental health intervention for children, Roberts is very impressed with NAMI’s HUGS outreach program, which in partnership with the Naples Children & Education Foundation screens more than 1,000 youngsters annually to address prevention and early identification of mental health problems and facilitate treatment.
Had you been to Naples before the NAMI Walk in March?
I had been all over Florida, but I feel like I’d just passed through Naples.
What led you to decide to return for the luncheon in December?
The moment we met everyone, we felt committed to them and the good work they do forever! We hoped they were sincere when they said they wanted us to come back.
Your career has been prolific: Film, stage, television, music videos, reality TV, you’ve done it all. Which is your preferred medium and why?
First of all, I’m glad that we actors can work in all sorts of mediums nowadays. I love feature films. I love sitcoms. I love dramatic TV. I like theater and music videos too. And commercials!
What is your favorite role so far? And is there one you wish you’d turned down?
Oh boy. There are none I really wish I’d turned down. I loved my role in Love Is A Gun and doing Less Than Perfect. I love my work!
We often see you cast as a villain—are you drawn to the darker roles?
I’m drawn to well-written roles, either good guys or villains.
Of all you have accomplished, what are you most proud of?
I’ve had some fans make some videos that make me look at my work with far more appreciation.
My dearest accomplishments are the kids, however: Emma Roberts [who is an actress], Keaton Simons [a singer/songwriter] and Morgan Simons [a chef]. I love keeping up with their activities!
Do you have any talents few people know about that you are willing to share?
That’s funny! I’m a very strong swimmer. I can sing a little.
I feel I communicate with animals pretty well.
Anything else you would like to add?
I’d love everyone to check out naturalchild.org—once they do, they’ll see why! And I can’t thank NAMI enough for having me.
Above: Alexis and Chlore Berkowitz, Eric Roberts, Andrew and Henry Berkowitz, Rosemary Pace at the March 2012 NAMI Collier County Tenth Anniversary Walk in Cambier Park
Below: Jolene Munzenrieder, Ann Marie Piazza, Eric Roberts, Susan Rhein at the 2012 NAMI Walk