Friday, January 20, 2012

Working as an Extra on Cosby Mysteries Television Series with Bill Cosby

By Alexia Fraser

In 1995, I worked with an agency that sent me out on calls for extra work on television shows and movie sets.

I enjoyed working as an extra at first.  However, over time, I enjoyed less and less the long hours spent waiting around for scenes to be shot.  I wanted to be a principal actor.  Then, I wouldn’t have minded the wait.  And since I had a full-time job at the time, my availability was more constrained than most of the other extras that were devoting full time to their acting careers.

The agency sent me to do extra work on television shows like “New York Undercover,” “Central Park West” and of course “Cosby Mysteries.”

“Cosby Mysteries” was an American television series that starred the one and only Bill Cosby.  It was the first television series to star Cosby since the “Cosby Show” (Wikipedia).  Bill Cosby played the lead character Guy Hanks, a criminologist, who worked for the New York Police Department.

I remember always watching the weekly series and wishing that I was a member of the cast.  The character I envisioned playing, besides playing Guy Hanks sister-in-law, was his secret stalker who lived in the same apartment building just across the hall from his apartment.  He would see me every day in the hallways or on the elevators and would say hello, but had no idea that I was his secret stalker.  I would watch him and follow him whenever I could.  I had my character’s lines all written in my head. J

You will then understand my shock upon learning from my agency that I was to report to the Cosby Mysteries set to work as an extra.  I could not believe it!  This was a dream come through.  I started thinking out loud what I would say to Mr. Cosby on the set.  There was a burning question that I just had to ask him.  It was simultaneously an unbelievable and believable moment for me.  JUST AMAZING!!!

I was very excited to go on set.  I packed my bag with my change of clothing for the different scenes the night before.  I was always organized and ready.  I do not remember the title of the episode.  I do remember that the actor Paul Anthony Sorvino was in the episode.  The scenes were shot in lower Manhattan at the City Hall Building.

In one of the scenes, Bill Cosby had to walk by me to get to his location and I remember staring at him because I had that question to ask him.  Cosby apparently felt my penetrating stare and looked at me, smiled, lifted up his right hand, pointed and shook his index finger at me and said “youuuuuu” with a smile.  I looked at him and smiled back.  Oh Boy!  The pressure mounted.  I wanted to ask my question but did not.  I was afraid to approach him.  Actually it was not allowed. So I was told.  It was overall a great, memorable experience.  Mr. Cosby was fun to watch, he took his work seriously.

The question I had for Mr. Cosby was how does someone like me get to be a regular on the show?  I missed my opportunity.

I am so happy I am able to write about it now.  Unbelievable!  Life is truly a circle.

Alexia Elizabeth Smart-Fraser was born in the beautiful island of Jamaica. After marrying her high school sweetheart Edward, she migrated to the United States. She is the proud and loving mother of two children, son Sean and daughter Paige. Alexia studied acting at H.B. Studio. She worked as an extra on the set of “Cosby Mysteries” with Bill Cosby, “New York Undercover” with Malik Yubo, “Central Park West” with Lauren Hutton, and the series “Prince Street” with Mariska Hargitay. As well, Alexia Fraser has written and produced three original non-fiction one act plays both off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway. “The Ryans,” “Dope the Endeavor” and “Blind Trust.” Her fourth play “Our God is Awesome” is not yet produced, but will be in the near future. Alexia is the original founder and partner of her production company, Paige Unlimited, LLC (www.paigeunlimitedllc) of which she is the Creative Arts VP. Memories of Mom is Alexia Fraser’s first published book. She was driven to share her story after seeing her mom suffered unacceptable nursing home and hospital care. Her second book is already partially scripted. “Write what you know” is what she believes.
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About Memories of Mom

Memories of Mom (M.O.M.) is a poignant story about an extraordinary mother, written by a daughter who loved and cared for her during her last lap of life.  This story is written from the heart, and will inspire love and affection in millions of daughters and sons who will someday be caring for their elderly parents or loved ones.  It is about undying love, unyielding sacrifices and compassionate role reversal.  The circle of life.


Alexia Fraser said...

Memories of've got to have one!