2019 Spirit of Courage Celebrities
Grace Bannon is a comedian and actress that loves bringing joy to others. She’s appeared on television series such as Grey’s Anatomy, Bones, Switched at Birth, the Disney series So Random, and recently on CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, HBO’s Here and Now and the Starz series VIDA. She is most known for her recurring role as Sue Heck’s Amish friend and fellow Wrestlerette on ABC’s The Middle. Additionally, she appears in commercials and can currently be seen popping up in an XFINITY commercial on your screens! Grace has a tender place in her heart for the Spirit of Courage cause and looks forward to showing her support!
John has inspired us for years as an actor, director and producer on the national stage, in film and on television. Since completing the fifth and final season as a regular on TV Land’s The Soul Man, John has recurred on the Fox Network’s hit series Shots Fired, and their new series The Resident. John has also starred with Oprah Winfrey on HBO’s Emmy and Golden Globe nominated The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. We are familiar with his work on Everwood along with now superstar, Chris Pratt, who John introduced to us a few years back. We’ve also seen him in Rudy, The Mighty Ducks, Sum of All Fears, The General’s Daughter and The Purge. John reconnected with his friend, Erich Hover, in The Turkey Bowl, which finished filming in 2018. John has made guest appearances on many TV shows such as CSI, NCIS, CSI Miami, Detroit 1-8-7 and Harry’s Law. Married to his wife and best friend for 53 years, they have two sons, Tyrone and Michael, both successful actors, and five grandchildren. Grandson, Malik Beasley, plays for the NBA’s Denver Nuggets. John is also very active and supportive in our community. In 2002, he founded the John Beasley Theater in Omaha to provide opportunities for community residents to discover and develop their talents in theater, dance, music, poetry and writing.
Jeff Braine has worked in film and television for 15 years, with credits on shows like How I Met Your Mother, Malcolm in the Middle, Nickelodeon’s Drake and Josh and Disney Channel’s Phil of the Future. He plays Dylan in The Adventures of Food Boy, now streaming on Netflix and has also appeared in over twenty commercials for products ranging from BMW and Geico to Kellogg’s and PlayStation. Jeff fell in love with improve comedy after moving to Los Angeles and performs regularly in and around the LA area, even teaching a weekly improv workshop of his own. Jeff and his comedy writing partners LP “Buds”, is now available on iTunes. He is thrilled and genuinely honored to spend the weekend with the wonderful community at Spirit of Courage for the second year in a row.
Marlin is a former collegiate quarterback and professional football quarterback and wide receiver. He played high school football at Omaha South and college football at Omaha University. He is a UNO Hall of Famer. In 1968, he was drafted by the Denver Broncos. He was the first starting African-American quarterback in the AFL. He played for several professional teams and ended his career in 1976 while playing for the New England Patriots. Marlin was among the class of 2016 inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in December. A statue was unveiled in his honor at the Baxter Arena in Omaha, NE in September 2016.
A veteran actor of more than 40 years, Rad Daly has enjoyed great success in television, film, theater, and improv and sketch comedy. Rad is known for his recurring role on NBC’s State of Affairs, as well as his roles on The Bad News Bears, Walking Tall, Simon and Simon, Mr. Belvedere and The Love Boat. Rad co-starred in hit films like 10, North Dallas Forty, Shanghai Noon, Crimson Tide and The A-Team. Rad is also one of television’s most successful commercial actors, having appeared in more than 200 national commercials, but may be best known as the Apple of the iconic Fruit of the Loom Guys.
Fans of animation will recognize Richard Horvitz as the voice of many iconic characters, including Invader Zim, Billy from The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, Daggett from The Angry Beavers, Alpha 5 from the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and currently starring as Kaos in the Netflix Original animated series Skylanders Academy. Richard can also be heard on The Loud House, Henry Danger, Elena of Avalor and many more. In addition to Richard’s animation work, gamers will recognize him from his many video game roles in such classics as Psychonauts (Raz) and the upcoming Psychonauts 2, the Ratchet and Clank series (Zoni, Pollyx Stuart Zurgo) Destroy All Humans (Orthopox) and Skylanders (Kaos) to name a few. Richard began his acting career on camera and many may recall his role as Alan Eakin in Paramount Pictures 1980s cult classic Summer School, directed by Carl Reiner. Recent roles include the role of Bob Zeidman, Matt Damon’s attorney in The Informant and may have seen him alongside Steve Carell in Crazy, Stupid, Love. Richard has also performed sketch comedy for nearly 30 years and was featured in the SNL film shorts Bear City as well as many appearances on The Jimmy Kimmel Show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Tosh.O. Fans of Fruit of the Loom underwear may also recognize Richard as The Green Grapes in many Fruit of the loom commercials. www.richardhorvitz.com
Omaha native Erich Hover’s first movie break came acting alongside Brad Pitt and Philip Seymour Hoffman in Moneyball. Hover has spent the last fifteen years acting and producing films and TV. He has produced features such as It Snows All The Time, a true story about his family and his father’s battle with early onset dementia, the festival award winning film Chasing Sunshine and The Turkey Bowl, will be released by Lionsgate in theaters on Thanksgiving. Erich co-produced M.F.A., currently on Amazon Prime and Apple TV.
Los Angeles based Ayla Kell has always been in the arts, getting her start in the LA Opera with Placido Domingo. She studied ballet at the Los Angeles Ballet Academy and performed with the American Ballet Theatre in The Nutcracker, then performed with the International Carousel Company in Tokyo, Japan. Ayla has appeared in many TV shows, including Malcolm in the Middle, Weeds, CSI: Miami, Leverage, and Melissa and Joey. As an actress, she is best known for her role in the ABC Family series Make It or Break It. Ayla’s most recent role includes Jill in Strange Ones, and Jessica in Adverse, Millie in Pizza and Whine and Lisa in Voyeur – three roles that are in post-production.
Born on Hilton Head, South Carolina, Sterling Knight began his acting career in local stage productions and then transitioned to television and film performances. Sterling is best known for his roles in 17 Again, the Disney Channel’s Sonny With a Chance and its spinoff So Random!, Melissa & Joey, and the Disney Channel original movie Starstruck. In 2015, Sterling starred in the action crime drama Landmine Goes Click. Sterling held roles as Charlie in Different Flowers and Philip in the Man from Earth: Holocene. He had a recurring role as Cameron Fullbright on In the Rough. Sterling just finished starring in Be a Good Little Widow, which was an Ovation Recommended play in Los Angeles.
J.P. Manoux has over 250 different film, television, and commercial credits to his name including: Modern Family, Veep, Grey’s Anatomy, Shameless, ER, Will & Grace, Community, How I Met Your Mother, Phil of the Future, The Emperor’s New School, EuroTrip, Knocked Up and Transformers. He used to play the Green Grapes for Fruit of the Loom. Now he plays the greens great for Spirit of Courage.
Carl grew up in Hornell, New York. He attended the United States Military Academy at West Point for two years. Following West Point, he became a deputy sheriff in Monroe County, New York and served 17 years on the force. Carl “fell into” the acting world upon moving to California and made his television debut on the NBC primetime show, Trauma. Since then, Carl has appeared in numerous feature films, television shows, and national commercials. In 2010, he was cast as the lead/title character in the new Investigation Discovery show, Homicide Hunter: Lt. Joe Kenda. Carl portrays Lt. Joe Kenda in all episodes. Homicide Hunter is currently filming its 9th season and is the highest-rated show on Investigation Discovery, re-airing in almost 200 countries. Season 9 premieres this month on Investigation Discovery. In his spare time, Carl and his wife, Ilona, raise money for charities by running marathons.
Ilona was born in San Francisco and raised in southern California. She graduated from UC Santa Barbara and eventually moved back to San Francisco where she started working in the finance industry. After the fall of Bear Stearns, she took time off and became involved in acting. She made her movie debut in the cult horror film, All About Evil. One of her co-stars in that movie invited her to the set of Sedona’s Rule, a movie he was co-starring in with Carl Marino. Ilona and Carl met on the last day of filming and they hit if off immediately and have been together ever since – celebrating their 9th wedding anniversary this month. Ilona also made her prime time debut working alongside Carl as a nurse on NBC’s Trauma in almost every episode. She worked on many other film projects before going back into the finance industry. She now works full-time in private equity but still loves to act and makes several appearances on Investigation Discovery’s Homicide Hunter every season playing various roles. In her spare time, she runs marathons with Carl raising money for charity.
Tohoru Masamune was born in Madison, WI and grew up in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and Boston, MA. He is currently based in Los Angeles. He is probably best known for playing Shredder in Michael Bay’s 2014 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. Other projects include Inception, Marvel Agents of Shield, American Dad and Heroes. On stage, he played lead roles at the Goodman Theater in Chicago and the Williamstown Theatre Festival with Tony Award-Winning Directors, Mary Zimmerman and Dan Sullivan, and was in the original cast of Far East by playwright, A. R. Gurney. Tohoru is currently starring in the lead role as Dr. Matt Lin in the 2019 Peabody Award-Winning show, Artificial. He will also be appearing in the feature film, Bond of Justice: Kizuna, with martial arts legend, Sonny Chiba. Tohoru has an engineering degree from MIT. He enjoys playing ice hockey, training with Glock handguns and samurai swords, and jamming on his keyboard. He is thrilled and honored to be back here participating in the Spirit of Courage weekend supporting the Jennie Edmundson Foundation.
Peter Onorati was and raised in Boonton, NJ. He received his B.A. from Lycoming College and his MBA from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He was an NCAA all-conference wide receiver and signed up to play in the World Football League, which quickly collapsed. He worked for Ford Motor Company and McCall’s magazine. He started in comedy and left the business world for acting and his first movie role as Florida Bookie in Goodfellas. Peter is well known most recently as a regular on S.W.A.T. and recurring guest star on This is Us. He has created recurring roles on CSI, Desperate Housewives and been seen in How to Get Away With Murder, Elementary, Sons of Anarchy and many more. His recent comedy appearances include The Big Bang Theory and 2 Broke Girls. Onorati also created two characters on the comedy hit Everybody Hates Chris. Peter and his wife, writer/producer Jeanette Collins, have been married since 1988 and have three sons.
Representing the third generation of performers in her family, Robin was born in New York City and was classically trained in the theater. Since theater was her first love, she made sure to split her time among stage, film, and television once she arrived in Hollywood. Shortly after her arrival, Robin was discovered at a lunch counter by a local TV producer who did a story about her on his magazine show. She has been the leading lady in six television series and received multiple nominations for her work on both television and the stage. In any profession, there are highs and lows. We judge ourselves so harshly , compare ourselves to others and tend to overlook the lucky moments and small accomplishments we achieve each day. Robin’s book, A Survivor’s Guide to Hollywood: How to Play the Game Without Losing Your Soul, shows us, no matter what your profession, the ability to maintain a sensible and joyful outlook whether you are experiencing feast or famine is absolutely crucial to your happiness. Robin can been seen starring as Colleen in Psycho Granny on YouTube, VOD and the Lifetime channel and she’s looking forward to the upcoming release of the new series Mood Swings, a modern-day Golden Girls, in which she plays the husband hunting Coco.
National and Local Sports
Also known as “The Bahnsen Burner”, Stan was born at Jennie Edmundson Hospital and played baseball and basketball at Abraham Lincoln High School before going on to play baseball at UNL where he was an All-American pitcher and was drafted by the New York Yankees. Stan played professional baseball for the New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics, and Montreal Expos. In 1968, he won a record 17 games for the Yankees and was the American League’s Rookie of the Year. Stan still holds the Major League Rookie Record for the number of innings pitched and Earned Run Average. Stan has a Major League record of 19 wins against the Yankees’ biggest rival, the Boston Red Sox. In 1972, he had his biggest win total for a season when he won 21 games for the Chicago White Sox. For his career, Stan pitched 2,500 innings and won 146 games.
Chris was named All American and the NCC’s Most Valuable Lineman in 1998 and 1999. After starting 45 consecutive games for UNO, Chris signed a free agent contract with the New York Giants in 2000. He started 32 games for the Giants before signing a five-year contract with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2004. In Kansas City, Chris provided quality depth for one of the NFL’s most explosive offenses, starting games at both guard and tackle. Chris was recently inducted into the South High School and UNO Athletic Halls of Fame, as well as the Omaha Sports Hall of Fame. Chris retired from football in 2008 and started a second career in real estate.
Larry broke onto the national scene during his junior season when the Huskers won the 1970 National Championship. During his senior year, the Huskers enjoyed an undefeated season, trouncing Alabama 38-6 in the 1972 Orange Bowl and earning another national title. Larry received the Outland Trophy, which recognizes the nation’s best interior lineman; the Knute Rockne Memorial Trophy from the Washington DC Touchdown Club, which is presented to the collegiate lineman of the year, and was a finalist for the Lombardi Trophy. In the 1972 NFL Draft, he was selected 24th overall by the New York Giants and his number 75 jersey was retired in 1994. In 2014, the Charlotte Touchdown Club presented Larry with its Bronko Nagurski Legends Award, which recognizes “the best of the best” of college football defensive players from the past 40 years.
Jon Lieber, local Council Bluffs hero, played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees, and Philadelphia Phillies. During a 15-season career, Jon compiled a 131-124 record with 1,553 strikeouts. In 2001, Jon led the league in games started and total innings, posted a career high of 20 victories, and was selected as an All-Star before finishing fourth in the Cy Young Award vote. With the Yankees in 2004, Jon won 14 games and became the team’s most consistent pitcher down the stretch, making the playoffs for the first time in his career. It wasn’t long before Jon was making history once again with the Phillies and Chicago Cubs.
Brenden Stai is a former American college and professional football player who was an offensive guard in the National Football League for eight seasons during the 1990s and early 2000s. Brenden played college football for the University of Nebraska and earned All-American honors. He was a rookie starter at right guard in the Super Bowl for the Steelers against Dallas. He spent five seasons with Pittsburgh and also played for Kansas City, Jacksonville, Detroit, Washington and New England. He retired in August of 2003.
Lance Zeno is a former offensive lineman in the National Football League. He attended the University of California, Los Angeles, on a football scholarship and was an All-American candidate and two-year team captain. Lance played four seasons as offensive center in the National Football League for the Green Bay Packers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Cleveland Browns. He played for future Hall of Fame coach Bill Belichick and was teammates with NFL Hall of Famers Troy Aikman, Brett Farve, and Reggie White. After retiring from the NFL, Lance coached at the University of Iowa, Arizona State University, Chapman University, Saddleback College, Fullerton College and is currently at the 2018 National Champions – Mater Dei High School. Lance remains involved with many charities and nonprofit organizations today, including NFL Caring for Kids, The Christian Okoye Foundation, and the American Baby Cancer Foundation.
Z92 Everything That Rocks Radio Station
Z92 Everything That Rocks Radio Station
Producer of the Todd N Tyler Radio Empire
Z92 Everything That Rocks Radio Station
5 Time Champion – Bush All-Star
Mayor Matt Walsh
City of Council Bluffs, IA
Retired WOWT Sports Anchor
Council Bluffs, IA