Biography courtesy and copyright of Jan Reesman (nee Marlyn).
Jan Reesman (nee Marlyn) was born, sometime in the last century, in Trenton N.J.
Her Italian American family was dysfunctional but fun. Her father owned race car tracks and he was also a stock car driver. Her Mom was a housewife most of the year and a stunt driver in the summers.
She started in beauty pageants early. Jan is proud to say she won many, including “Miss New Jersey”. She lost her crown when they found out that she was only 15.
Jan was a terrible student but managed to pass, learn the three Rs and how to manipulate the system.
On summer vacation, aged 16, Jan’s Mom, Lucky Lucy, took her to visit family in Miami. They encouraged her to apply to become a Bunny during the summer. Using what she learned in school, Jan was able to get the required police card (stating her age as 23) and she became a Bunny. During Bunny training, she was given a hundred dollar bill to purchase a pack of cigarettes with Rabbit Head lighter and told to keep the change. Jersey was never like this.
Joe Torre, then a baseball rookie, was a Playboy member along with his brother Frank. Jan dated him for a while. Note: Heard that he later married a Bunny.
Jan’s true age was found out. She left Playboy with an offer to return when she became of age. Before going back to Jersey, she finished out the summer being a “Lamb Chop” at the Lambs Club (an elegant nightclub patterned on the Playboy model, the waitresses wore curly lambs' wool tails and litle furry collars).
Devastated by the temporary loss of cottontail status, Jan returned to Jersey. When she turned 18 Jan went to Chicago and worked there for a summer. HATED IT! Dated Joe Torre in Chicago.
Jan was one of the original Bunnies who opened the New York Playboy Club, working days. (You had to be 21 to work nights). Great years.
She left Playboy to become a Jersey housewife, a bookie and to have a baby boy (of whom she is very proud , believing he is a person everyone should aspire to become).
Age 21, finally legal, she left her then husband and moved back again to New York and the Playboy Club there to work the showrooms. The big bucks earned cottontailing helping to finance her studies in method acting five days per week.
Jan met Gabe Kaplan at “The Improv” (before he was a Playboy comic). They had some fun years.
Off to Los Angeles for a summer, which turned into a permanent move. Jan became a veterinarian technician. Oh, Jan went to Fordham University at Lincoln Center, which made her eligible to take a test to become an Animal Health Technician, Jan was always an animal lover.
Flash forward; she became a very successful Animal Behaviorist. Clients included: Whoopi Golberg, Calvin Klein, Billy Crystal, James Caan, Diane Cannon and more…
Simultaneously Jan became part of a theater company and over the next ten years or so (and three different theater companies), Jan left acting and became a theater producer and then director. Opportunity moved her into casting and then personal management. All these Jan considered “day jobs”.
The management was a success monetarily but actors were harder to house train then dogs. Actors that Jan found while directing and teaching acting at Tracy Roberts Theater and Actors Alley became stars. Really! (John Corbett and Cynthia Stevenson)
Film called. Jan’s first film was the “USA’s Up All Night” classic, Bikini Car Wash. Onto a TV pilot. After being accepted into the “American Film Institutes Directing Workshop For Women” Jan wrote and directed several award winning shorts.
Along the way Jan started writings plays and then film. Writing and directing were her real passions.
Jan and her actor husband (who she met while directing him in a play) opened a coffeehouse and theater in North Hollywood. It was called “The Kindness Of Strangers”. It had a successful five-year run. During that time, Jan wrote TV sit-coms and was hired as a staff writer on an NBC sitcom (that was snuffed out by the network).
Jan has observed as a director/writer on: Seinfeld, Coach, Suddenly Susan, Renegade, the wonderful West Wing and CSI Miami.
She oil paints, has taught classes and now is an avid photographer. Her passions are Apple Computers and most gadgets. Jan is on the board of directors for Alliance Of Women Directors.
Jan is featured in Kathryn Leigh Scott's The Bunny Years.
Currently Jan lives in the hills of Beverly with husband Robb Reesman. They have been married “twelve wonderful years”. Jan had “tested out” four other husbands but cut them loose. Every morning this final husband, brings to her in bed, coffee, newspapers and her Mac Book Pro as she watches morning TV that he has Tivo’d for her.
They have seven cats, a Doberman, a Collie and an eighteen-year-old African Parrot named Huey. Jan cast Huey in a TV show when he was a baby. She went to court to keep Huey. She lost, but kept him anyway! A Jersey thing.