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Brief Biographies
of Latter-day Saint and/or Utah
Film Personalities


Biographical sketches are arranged alphabetically on separate pages, by last name.
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Gretchen Whalley
Non-LDS. Actress. Had a supporting role as "Stacie" in the Latter-day Saint-themed feature film "The Singles Ward" (2002). 4th-billed role in the independent direct-to-video film "Damian's Demons."
Rhonda Wheelan
Born 19 June 1957, Logan, Utah. Credited craft service (catering) provider on over 20 films and TV shows, including: Hansel & Gretel (2002); Backflash (2002); Repli-Kate (2002); Barstow 2008 (2001); Two Can Play That Game (2001); All About You (2001); Freddy Got Fingered (2001); Donnie Darko (2001); Memento (2000); Dinosaur (2000); Spark (1998). Craft service credit on the pilot episodes of the TV series "Meds" (2002), "The Oath" (2002) and "Danny" (2001). Has a bit part as a cocktail waitress in the movie "Dead Giveaway" (1995). She was also a production assistant on that film.
Ellen Wheeler
Latter-day Saint. Born 9 October 1961, Cedar City, Utah. Emmy Award-winning television actress. Her professional acting career began at Ruth Hale's Glendale Centre Theatre. She trained with Latter-day Saint acting coach and talent agent Patti Miner. Played "Marley Hudson" on the daytime soap opera "Another World" from 1984 to 1986, and again from 1998 to 1999. Also played "Victoria 'Vicky' McKinnon" on the same series (1985-1986). Played the part of "Cindy Parker Chandler" on "All My Children" (1987-1989, 2000). Briefly played "Karen Parker" on the same series (1989). Played "Phyllis Wicke" on the short-lived series "Dark Shadows" (1991). Played "Sarah" on "The Bold and the Beautiful" in 1995. Played "Marley Hudson" on "As the World Turns" (2000-2001). She guest-starred as "Ekoria" in the 1996 "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" episode "The Quickening." Ekoria is an ailing pregnant woman who seeks Dr. Bashir's help, and who ends up helping Bashir find the cure to a plague devestating her planet. Other TV guest appearances include: ER; Mr. & Mrs. Smith; L.A. Firefighters; Hunter; The Facts of Life; Trapper John, M.D. Wheeler has now turned to directing and producing. She was a director on the series "As the World Turns" (1999-2002) and since 2002 has been a director and line producer on "The Guiding Light." She also produced the film "Delta Fever" (1987) and the reality-based TV movie "Tonya & Nancy: The Inside Story" (1994), about Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan.
Arleen Whelan
Born 1 September 1916, Salt Lake City, Utah. Died 7 April 1993, Orange County, California. Actress. Appeared in at least 26 films, including: The Women of Pitcairn Island (1957); Raiders of Old California (1957); Never Wave at a WAC (1952); Passage West (1951); The Senator Was Indiscreet (1947); Stage Door Canteen (1943); Sundown Jim (1942); Castle in the Desert (1942); Charley's Aunt (1941); Charter Pilot (1940). Usually in featured roles, sometimes lead actress.
Jeff Whipple
Company: The Image Factory in Sandy, Utah. 11 years award winning writer/producer/director/editor with broadcast and corporate media experience. New Cannon XL1 Digital Video Camera. Avid and VideoCube Editing. BetaSP with complete lighting package available.
Claire Whitaker
Latter-day Saint. Also credited as: Orma W. Wallengren; Claire Whitaker Peterson. Neice of filmmakers Wetzel O. Whitaker and John "Scott" Whitaker. Mother of television screenwriter and producer Ernie Wallengren. Mother in law of movie producer John Garbett. Orma is the screenwriter of "Johnny Lingo" (1969), the most popular LDS Church video from the early filmmaking period of the Church. Co-writer of the major Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints-produced video "Man's Search for Happiness," as well as other Church videos, along with with Wetzel O. Whitaker and Scott Whitaker, during the period that the Whitakers ran the BYU motion picture department. Story consultant for the classic BYU-made Church video "The Mailbox" (1977). She wrote for the TV series "Death Valley Days", "Wagon Train", and "The Wonderful World of Disney." She later started writing under the name of Claire Whitaker working on well-known productions such as "The Waltons" (she was story editor), "Falcon Crest", "Promised Land", "Baywatch", "Eight is Enough" and "Touched by an Angel," among others. She wrote the TV movies "A Walton Thanksgiving Reunion" (1993) and "A Walton Wedding" (1995).
John Whitaker
Sound recordist for the video "The Children's Video Songbook, Vol. 1: My Heavenly Father's World" (1990) and "The Children's Video Songbook Vol. 2: I Am a Child of God" (1991), sold in Latter-day Saint bookstores.
Johnny Whitaker
Latter-day Saint. Born 13 December 1959, Van Nuys, California. Sometimes credited as: Johnnie Whitaker. Popular child actor with red hair. Best known for his TV series work, especially his starring role as "Jonathan 'Jody' Patterson-Davis" on the popular series "The Family Affair" (1966-1971). Also starred as "Johnny Stuart" on the children's program "Sigmund and the Sea Monsters" (1973). Played "Scotty 'Scott' Baldwin" on the soap opera "General Hospital" in 1965. Starred in the title roles in the movies "Tom Sawyer" (1973) and "The Biscuit Eater" (1972), and the TV movie "The Littlest Angel" (1969). Starring or major supporting roles in other films: The Magic Pony (1977); Mystery in Dracula's Castle (1972); Napoleon and Samantha (1972); Snowball Express (1972). Major roles in the TV movies "Mulligan's Stew (1977); "Something Evil" (1972). Small part in the movie "The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming (1966). TV guest appearances include: Adam-12; Marcus Welby, M.D.; Gunsmoke; To Rome with Love; Green Acres; The Virginian; Bewitched; On Common Ground; Beyond Belief. Production coordinator for a half-hour, live-action version of The Velveteen Rabbit, which starred Marie Osmond and first aired on the Disney Channel in 1984. Now the host of a radio talk show. Currently working on producing and directing a documentary, "Bigfoot: The Real Adventure." In 1999 he received the Former Child Star Lifetime Achievement Award at the Young Artist Awards. IMDb bio:
Johnny graduated from Sylmar High School in Southern California after "Family Affair" was cancelled. He then spent two years in Portugal as part of a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and then returned to the US where he attended Brigham Young University where he obtained a degree in communications in 1986. He started work as a computer assistant, but later joined his sister's LA talent agency. Divorced in 1988, Johnny has had to go through a 12 step program to rid himself of drug dependency.

October 2001: Starring in stage play 'Nighty Nite San Francisco,' a talk show parody, in San Francisco.

Matt Whitaker
Latter-day Saint. Lives in Orem, Utah with his wife Nicia. Also known as: Matthew Whitaker. Writer, producer and director of "Truth and Treason: The Helmuth Hubener Story" (2002), a PBS documentary about the Latter-day Saint German teenager who was executed for his opposing Nazism. Director of the PBS documentary "Saints at War" (2001), about Latter-day Saint soldiers during World War II. Director of the PBS series "Ancestors" (1997; 2000). Director of the short film "Edges." Producer of the PBS documentary "The Call of Story" (2002). Writer and director of a number of videos and commercials for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including "The Plan of Happiness," shown at the 1998 Missionary Open House. Foley assistant for the Feature Films For Families movie "The ButterCream Gang" (1991) and second assistant director for its sequel, "Secret of Treasure Mountain" (1993).
Max Whitaker
Latter-day Saint. Lives in Utah. Born circa 1994. Brother of actors Tim Whitaker and Nick Whitaker. Was in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints remake of "The First Vision", produced in 2001 and shown at select visitors centers beginning in 2003. He played the part of "William Smith", younger brother to Joseph Smith. Has also done commercials and voice-overs for such companies as Deseret Book, Buddig Meat, Sky 2 News, R. C. Willey, Utah Bankers Association and others.
Nick Whitaker
Latter-day Saint. Born circa 1989. Utah-based child actor. Had the starring role in Eric Hendershot's direct-to-video movie "Message in a Cell Phone" (2000), which is shown on TV and is available on video. Had a small but key role in Richard Dutcher's critically acclaimed Latter-day Saint-themed feature film "Brigham City (2001). Nick Whitaker played "Spencer Merrill," the younger sister of the "Miss Brigham" beauty pagent winner who was the murder victim played by Jacque Gray. It is Nick who silently holds out the sacrament tray to Richard Dutcher's character ("Wes" the sheriff and bishop) in the film's final scene. Whitaker also had a small role in T.C. Christensen's direct-to-video film "Bug Off!" (2001). TV guest appearance as "Willie" on the "Touched by an Angel" episode "The Perfect Game" (2001). Has had speaking parts in three different episodes of "Touched By An Angel" and has played a school boy giving a presentation, a bigoted bully and a heart donor recipient. Featured in a short film produced by Nuskin called "Journey To Harmony" (2002), directed by Martin Andersen. He has done many voice-overs and commercials including: Deseret Book, R. C. Willey, LDS Church, Disney International, BMW, Lagoon, KSL, KUTV Channel 2, American's Promise, Associated Food Stores, and several others.
Scott Whitaker
Latter-day Saint. Died 4 June 1976 from bone cancer. Also credited as: John "Scott" Whitaker; John Whitaker. Along with his brother Wetzel O. Whitaker, Scott Whitaker ran the BYU Motion Picture department during the 1960s and early 70s, writing or serving as a story editor for a large proportion of the Church videos of that era. Wrote the screenplay for the classic Church video about President Lorenzo Snow and tithing, "Windows of Heaven" (1963), which was produced and directed by Wetzel O. Whitaker. Story editor for the classic short film "Cipher in the Snow" (1973), made by BYU and LDS Motion Picture Studio. Writer of the Western movie "And Should We Die" (1966), which Latter-day Saint main characters and which was directed by Wetzel O. Whitaker.
Tim Whitaker
Latter-day Saint. Born circa 1981. Lives in Utah. Brother of actors Nick Whitaker and Max Whitaker. Actor. Small role as "Quint" in the feature film "Bats" (1999). Guest role as "Mole" on an episode of the network TV series "Everwood" (WB) in October 2002. He played the part of "Kevin" in the LDS seminary film "The Plan of Salvation" and has done several commercials and CD-ROM products and LDS church training films.
Wetzel O. Whitaker
Latter-day Saint. Born 30 September 1908, Heber City, Utah. Died 1 November 1985, Murray, Utah. Birthname: Wetzel Orson Whitaker. Also known as: Judge Whitaker; "Judge" Whitaker; Wetzel O. Whitaker; Wetzel Whitaker; Wetzel Orson "Judge" Whitaker; Wetzel "Judge" Whitaker; Wetzel Judge Whitaker. Although his name is largely unknown today, Wetzel O. Whitaker was one of the most influential figures in the history of Latter-day Saint filmmaker. He was the producer and director of many of the earliest films produced by the Church and subsequently shown on film and video to generations of young Latter-day Saints in seminary, Sunday School and other forums. Producer and/or director of such classics as: Up in Smoke! (1959); Windows of Heaven (1963); Measure of a Man (1962); Worth Waiting For (1962); Never a Bride (1969); Johnny Lingo (1969); How Do I Love Thee? (1970); For Time Or Eternity (1970); The Lost Manuscript (1974); Cipher In The Snow (1973). Interestingly enough, many of these films were strictly values-oriented, and made no mention of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which produced them. Two of Whitaker's films ("Johnny Lingo" and "Cipher in the Snow") are available on video as part of the "BYU Classics" series, and on DVD as part of the "LDS Film Classics" series. Whitaker also directed the 1969 temple film, which featured popular Latter-day Saint television actor Gordon Jump as the Apostle Peter. Quote from the program for the 17th Olympia Film Festival, at which Jack Stevenson presented a tribute to Whitaker's work:
The French say that American filmmakers have never really embraced the auteur theory - but obviously they have never seen the films of Wetzel O. Whitaker! So allow us to share with you the magic of this unsung genius of Mormon educational filmmaking! Outrageous camp meets brutal realism in these three short films that confront the moral issues facing teens in a world teeming with hideous fashion, bad haircuts and campus conflict. The college drama How Do I Love Thee? (1970), the faith-restoring For Time Or Eternity (1970) and the truly eerie Cipher In The Snow (1973) are presented here by festival guest Jack Stevenson, an expert in the field of moralist melodrama.
Bio from, written by Brian Greenhalgh:
Wetzel Orson Whitaker was a pioneering producer and director of educational and religious films at Brigham Young University, where he is credited with establishing a motion picture studio. In many ways Wetzel's life would parallel that of Walt Disney, who would become his long-term employer. He was born in Heber City, Utah, growing up in Utah and Colorado before attending The Chicago Institute of Art and then becoming the art director of The St. Louis Times in St. Louis, Mo. He moved to Los Angeles in the 1930s to work as a film animator, spending 2 years with Screen Gems (a subsidiary of Columbia Pictures) and 16 years at Walt Disney Studios (two stints, 1932-33 and 1936-52). He worked upon numerous animated short subjects such as "Donald's Vacation" (1940) and "Donald Gets Drafted (1942)". Credited as "Judge Whitaker" for character animation, he also worked upon several animated features beginning with "Make Mine Music" (1946). Other feature credits include "Fun and Fancy Free" (1947), "Melody Time" (1948), "Cinderella" (1950), "Alice in Wonderland" (1951) and "Peter Pan" (1953).

Wetzel took a leave of absence from Disney in 1952 to join with his brothers to develop The Homestead Resort at the site of some natural hot springs near Park City, Utah. The same year, Ernest L. Wilkinson, the president of the nearby Brigham Young University, approached Wetzel to establish a film studio from scratch. Some basic equipment was purchased and film production was launched at BYU in 1953, reportedly becoming only one of two university film production facilities at the time (the other at USC). His brother Scott Whitaker became the studio's supervising story editor. More than 150 films were produced during his 22 years as director and producer at the studio. Many of these films had themes teaching universal moral values and made no specific mention of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the parent organization for which they were produced. He is probably best known for "Windows of Heaven" (1963) and "Johnny Lingo" (1969). He received an honorary doctorate of fine arts from BYU in 1971, and retired in 1974.

Here are the films Whitaker was an animator for, according to
Win Whittaker
Married to Sarah Wheat Thomas Whittaker, who he met on a film set in Salt Lake City. Nephew of Jim Whittaker, the first American to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Director, producer and climber. Second assistant director (or 2nd 2nd A.D.) for "The Runner" (1999), "Stranger Than Fiction" (1999), "SLC Punk!" (1999), "A Life Less Ordinary" (1997), "The Paper Brigade" (1996), and "Wish Upon a Star" (1996). Key set production assistant for Leucadia's "Coyote Summer" (1996) and "Just Like Dad" (1996). Set production assistant for the Leucadia film "Breaking Free" (1995). Bio from Everest News (
Win Whittaker is well know among the climbing elite, having guided on Mt. Rainer, Mt. McKinley, Aconcagua, and several of the world1s highest peaks since his early teens and trained many of today's top climbing guides he hails from the famous climbing Whittaker family. Gombu and Win have worked together guiding expeditions on Mt. Rainier forthe last seventeen summers, and their friendship will certainly benefit this production. Although well know for his climbing, Win is perhaps less well known for his extensive film experience. Having worked in the film industry for seven years as an Assistant Director he has both the heart of a climber and the knowledge of a filmmaker that this project requires.

Boyd Whiting
Lives in Wallsburg, Utah. Bit part as the First Counselor in the bishopric in the Latter-day Saint-themed feature film "The Singles Ward" (2002), which was filmed partially in Wallsburg, Utah, where he lives.
Brent White
Latter-day Saint. Film editor of the feature films "The Slaughter Rule" (2002), "Wildflowers" (1999), "Matilda" (1996) and "Teenage Bonnie and Klepto Clyde" (1993). Assistant editor on the feature film "Fluke" (1995). Film editor for the TV series "Freaks and Geeks" (1999). Film editor for the TV documentary "Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years" (1999) and the TV movies "Mr. Murder" (1998), "The Patron Saint of Liars" (1998) and "Critical Choices" (1996).
Courtney White
Casting director and extras coordinator for the Latter-day Saint-themed feature film "Handcart" (2002).
Dale White
Latter-day Saint. Lives in Bountiful, Utah. Television actor who became a respected television director. Was an assistant director the critically acclaimed TV series "Hill Street Blues" (1981-1987), and directed 3 episodes 1986 and 1987. Directed 2 episodes of the TV series "Jake and the Fatman" in 1989. Was a director for the short-lived TV series "Leg Work" (1987). Unit production manager for the TV series "The Drew Carey Show" (1995-1996) and "Ladies Man" (1999-2001). Production manager for the TV movie "Between Mother and Daughter" (1995). First assistant director for episodes of the TV series "Will & Grace" (1998-2003) and "MacGyver" (1991-1992). White has twice received a Directors Guild of America. He received a DGA Award for "Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series" in 1983 as the second assistant director for "Hill Street Blues" (for the episode "Personal Foul"). He received a DGA Award for "Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy Series" in 2001 as the first assistant director for "Will & Grace" (for the episode "Love In The Eighties"). Bio from Bountiful Performing Arts Center website (
Dale White is a respected writer, cinematographer and director of theater and cinema/video productions. He is the former head of Cinema/Television Department of the Pasadena Playhouse College of Theater Arts. Dale was a cast member of the Jack Benny Television Program for ten years, playing the role of "Harlow," son of Don Wilson. He is currently the owner of Dale White Productions a producer of motion picture/video productions for leading American Corporations and entertainment productions. Dale was the owner of two equity waiver community theaters in California. The Claremont Playhouse and The Sierra Madre Playhouse, noted as one of the best community theaters in the Loa Angeles area by The Los Angeles Times and a key showcase for upcoming actors. Tom Hanks appeared in Barefoot in The Park where the LA Times commented, "A new face and stage presence that shows some promise."

He continues to produce programs that he is passionate about and has directed many epic-sized original productions written by him in The Rose Bowl, The Starlight Bowl, The Long Beach Sports Arena, The Shrine Auditorium in Hollywood and the Phoenix Sports Arena.

Derek White
Actor who had the 5th-billed role as the neo-Nazi Sheriff's deputy in Rocco DeVilliers' independent feature film "Pure Race" (1995). Also had a small role in the Feature Films For Families video "In Your Wildest Dreams" (1991).
Greg Whiteley
Latter-day Saint. Documentary filmmaker who made the films "The Sea Within: Deep Hunters" (1996) and "The Sea Within: Deep Color" (1994), which have been shown on television and are available on video. Also the director of the short film "The Village Singer." Had a small on screen role in the Leucadia direct-to-video movie "Breaking Free" (1995).
Colleen Whitley
Latter-day Saint. Lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. Also credited as: Colleen K. Whitley. Instructor at Brigham Young University in English and Honors. Faculty advisor for Insight Magazine, a BYU honors publication. Was a speaker at the Fourth Annual Mormon Writers Conference, held in Lehi, Utah on 2 November 2002, at which she was one of the presenters of a session titled "When You Wish Upon A Star--How to Sell Your Books and Stories to Hollywood." Editor of Worth Their Salt, Notable But Often Unnoted Women if Utah (Logan, Utah: Utah State University Press, 1996), Worth Their Salt, Too: More Notable but Often Unnoted Women of Utah (USU Press, 2000), and Brigham Young's Homes (USU Press, 2002).
Charles Whitman
Latter-day Saint. Actor with small parts in the film "The Junky's Christmas" (1993) and the TV movies "Truman" (1995), "A Matter of Justice" (1993), "The Burden of Proof" (1992) and "The Day After" (1983).
Tristan Whitman
Latter-day Saint. Sometimes credited as: Tristan T. Whitman. Cinematographer of the short films "Junk" (2001), "The Last Tzaddik" (1998), "A Fate Foretold", "Absence" (2001) and "Love Crimes and Other Felonies," as well as many other commercials and shorts films. Cinematographer of the short film "Simplicity" (2002), directed by Chet Thomas and written by Darrin Fletcher. Worked on the 8-minute documentary "Upward Vertical Movement" (2002), made along with Steve W. Olpin and Michelle Shup.
Annalee Whitmore
Born 27 May 1916, Price, Utah. Died 5 February 2002, Captiva Island, Florida. Writer of: Tish (1942); Honky Tonk (1941); Ziegfeld Girl (1941); Andy Hardy Meets Debutante (1940); Babes in Arms (1939). Graduated Stanford University 1937; managing editor of Stanford Daily. Front line World War II journalist for LIFE and TIME magazines.
Bill Whitworth
Lives in Sandy, Utah. Also known as: William Whitworth. DGA/SAG consultant for the 70mm film "The Testaments of One Fold and One Shepherd" (2002), produced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Production accountant for the TV movie "Absence of the Good" (1999) and for Scott Featherstone's feature film "Same River Twice" (1996).

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Web page created 7 June 2002. Last modified 19 October 2003.