Emmy-winning Samford graduate stars in Toy Story 4
As movie goers young and old head to see Toy Story 4 around the globe, one special connection stands out for Alabamians.
In the newest addition to Pixar’s legendary franchise, a handmade spork-turned-toy named “Forky” joins the likes of Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head and Bo Peep.
While not quite at the level of notoriety of Tom Hanks, the voice of Forky, Tony Hale, has made a name for himself in the entertainment world over the last decade.
And, since graduating from Homewood’s Samford University in 1992, Hale has made his alma mater proud, living up to the Christian school’s mission and values.
Fans may recognize Hale for his roles as Buster Bluth on Arrested Development or Gary Walsh on VEEP, for which he won two primetime Emmy awards.
However, Brad Radice, the executive director of broadcast media at Samford, told WBRC that Hale has remained grounded even as he gained fame, still visiting campus often.
“Super nice, super friendly … he comes back and it’s the same Tony Hale. Just a nice, humble, unassuming guy,” Radice said. “He’d walk around this campus like you and I would.”
As fate would have it, Hale stayed in the old Crawford Johnson residence hall during his time on campus. This building is now the School of Divinity, but Hale himself has made quite an impact in spreading the gospel over his career.
In fact, after he went to New York City to begin his acting career, Hale founded the Haven, a community of Christian artists striving to shine their light in a typically secular industry.
The New York Sun described the Haven “as a support community for artists determined to live by Christian values — not by the dog-eat-dog rules that usually apply.”
This group meets weekly “to pray, study scripture, and share their artistry.”
Toy Story 4 is currently showing in theaters. It just raked in $238 million globally at the box office its first weekend.
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn