Bill Leigon dreamed of being an actor but ended up taking the role of serial entrepreneur. Now, he is back onstage.
"As an actor, you develop the attitude that the show's gotta go on. The curtain goes up, whether you're ready or not," says Bill Leigon.
After graduating from the University of Texas with a theater degree in the early 1970s, Bill Leigon moved to New York City to pursue an acting career. He wound up becoming an entrepreneur instead, founding more than a dozen businesses, including Wimbledon Wines, which he sold to Hahn Family Wines in Soledad, California. Leigon, now president of Hahn, returned to acting 15 years ago, when a friend encouraged him to audition for the role of the rakish narrator El Gallo in a local production of The Fantasticks. He landed the part and has since performed in two dozen local and regional productions. Leigon says acting has taught him to think on his feet, both onstage and in the business world. "You learn poise, to be present in the moment, and to improvise -- everything you need to be a good salesman," he says.
Favorite role Playing John Adams in a production of 1776 by the Napa Valley Repertory Theater, a group Leigon co-founded in 2001. "I read all the books about Adams to prepare," says Leigon, a history buff.
High school musical As a student at Bellaire High School in Houston, Leigon performed in plays and musicals with Randy Quaid.
Accolades Leigon received several awards from Dean Goodman, the late Bay Area theater critic, including Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his portrayal of the suave Steven Kodaly in She Loves Me.