Dale Godboldo – Philanthropist Extraordinaire

Words + Interview By Tyrone Davis

Actor, Producer and Philanthropist Dale Godboldo is best known for his portrayal of attorney Carl E. Douglas on the FX series “The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story”. He was also a member of “The All-New Mickey Mouse Club” in the 90’s and has founded a few organizations that raise funding and support other organizations focused on education, arts, mentorship and entrepreneurship. He is executive producer of the upcoming “Mickey Mouse Club Reunion”, which will celebrate the show’s 30th anniversary. We discussed his time on the show, working on Marvel’s “Thor”, his foundations and why he is being the change he wants to see.

“The All-New Mickey Mouse Club” produced some pretty well-known talent.  As a young man, did you think people like yourself, Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera and Brittany Spears would be where you are today?
There was a tremendous amount of passion and hope on all of our parts. Most of us believed that we would be doing this for the rest of our lives and would pursue it as far as we were able to. However, there’s no way to really know what your career will bring and of course we could have never imagined the level of success that many of us have achieved.

What do you remember most about being on that show?
The training and hanging out between shooting skits and dance numbers. It really was more like an arts academy with a one million dollar production budget that put on weekly, sometimes daily recitals. Disney did such a great job of providing an atmosphere of creativity and learning, both from the producers/executives and from each other. Many times the rehearsals felt like play, I feel this is still an important part of being open and prepared for performances. We had a ball during the rehearsal process and by the time the cameras were rolling, we were prepared and ready to deliver.

You’re an executive producer of “The Mickey Mouse Club Reunion”. What can we expect from this reunion?
Many of us haven’t seen each other in up to 30 years, so fans will be experiencing with us our own reunion in real time. There will be laughter and a lot of nostalgia during our panel moderated by Joey Fatone. There’s also a special performance of Lindsey Alley’s a hilarious one-woman-show called, Blood, Sweat, and Mouseketeers. In the after party, a live band will be backing our musical performances of songs we were known for on the show. We’ll also have performances during our Soul Sunday at the Hyatt Regency Orlando. We’ll be spotlighting our charity partners, having a live silent bid on an incredible VIP experience and we’ll have some amazing surprises that we’ll be announcing very soon.

Have you kept in contact with any members of the club or will you be seeing some of them for the first time in awhile?
I’ve kept up with most on the show. However, there are a few from Seasons 1-3 that I’ve actually never met. I started in season four so I am looking forward to meeting them.

What was your experience like working as Agent Garrett in Marvel’s “Thor”.
Incredible! Working with Kenneth Branagh was a dream of mine, coupled with the fact that I was in a movie about a comic book hero that I love. I’m a Marvel fanatic! I have over 2,000 comics…all Marvel. So, it was really special for me. 

There are 2 big Marvel projects coming up soon. What are your “Top 5” Marvel movies thus far?
Black Panther, Iron Man, The Avengers, The Avengers: Infinity War, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and of course, Thor.

About a year ago, we spoke with actress Asia Monet Ray, who starred as Sydney Simpson in “The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story”. She is much younger, so she wasn’t around during the actual trial.  Being someone who was of age during that time, how did starring as Carl E. Douglas impact you?
That was an amazing experience for me and it was an honor to play Carl. I was on The Mickey Mouse Club watching the Bronco chase in our dressing room with other Mouseketeers during that time. Although I was old enough to follow the basics of the trial, it wasn’t until I began research on my character that I truly understood what it was all about. Ryan Murphy did an extraordinary job with it. What was really great was that I became friends with Carl Douglas. We even watched episode five together at his house…that was probably as strange for him as it was for me. 

When I was growing up, black sitcoms like “Moesha” and “Smart Guy” were some of my favorite.  Explain the process when in pursuit of acting gigs and how the roles grow as time goes by.
I landed in Los Angeles in 1996 and Moesha was my first gig post Mouse Club. I was excited to be working on a black show for many reasons and I was a particular fan of that one. My team knew that if I was going to build a career, I would need to make myself available to these shows. So, we pursued them as much as we could. It’s unfortunate that we don’t have the breadth of shows today like that, but we do have new shows that are different in tone and wonderful in their own right.

Tell us about your Always in the Club Foundation. 
Inspired by my time on The Mickey Mouse Club, I wanted to start a non-profit program that would help kids with education and entrepreneurship, with a particular focus on leveraging and supporting the arts. I always say there is a reason that so many of us have reached success and I believe it’s directly related to the foundation laid during that time on the show. Several of the Mouseketeers helped me launch it, as well as Presidents Bill Clinton in programmatic development and George W. Bush in fundraising. We’ve partnered with incredible organizations like The Stan Lee Foundation to promote literacy through the reading of comic books. Arvada K-8 Schools in Denver has also helped us with our Project:NOW. which services learning programs for kids in underserved communities and we’ve provided funding and promotional support for INROADS by, preparing underserved youth for career success. Our website is www.AlwaysInTheClub.org.

What/Who inspires you and why?
Socially Conscious Art, Business and Philanthropy. I’m really inspired by people like Richard Branson, Blake Mycoskie (TOMS), Jordan Peele, Ava DuVernay and Oprah Winfrey.

What made you get involved in philanthropy? How fulfilling is it in comparison to acting?
I would say it is as fulfilling, just in a different way. I began focusing my energy on it after volunteering for a couple of fundraising galas. I began to truly understand how important the money was to the benefitting organizations and that, in many cases, it would lead to life and death of the people these organizations serve. I decided to dedicate my life to helping organizations get the funding they need to address the global challenges we face. Specifically, I launched International Arts & Philanthropy Foundation that helps to end poverty, fight inequality and stop climate change. This organization promotes the Sustainable Development Goals that world leaders agreed to for a better world by 2020. You can learn more at www.iaphilanthropy.org.

What is your favorite role to date and why?
Easily Carl Douglas in The People v OJ Simpson: American Crime Story. Primarily because of the experience working with Ryan Murphy, Sterling K. Brown, Courtney Vance, John Travolta and the rest of the cast. Also, for the opportunity to play a real person. Before this role I had never done that. It was very scary, as well as thrilling. I just hoped Carl approved of me. He told me he did, which was a huge relief.

In your opinion, what is the biggest misconception about Hollywood?
That it’s not about business…solely. There’s this idea out there that decisions are made for socially relevant reasons. I do not believe that is true. Of course there are many creative filmmakers and television producers that are driven by activism, but if it cannot make money, it will never be seen. That’s unfortunate. That’s why I’m committed to building the bridge between the two (art and commerce) and supporting art that makes some kind of social contribution while also making money. It can be done. Black Panther is a clear example.

Follow Dale Godboldo on Twitter and Instagram @DaleGodboldo and on Facebook: OfficialDaleGodboldo.

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