Matt Schickling, the Wire
You might not know the name Patsy Meck, but you probably know her face, even if it’s just from wandering around Hatboro.
In the last five years, that recognition has skyrocketed from family and friends to the occasional run-in with a movie fan at the grocery store or even a security escort from mid-level seats at a New York City theater to the backstage area, where Bradley Cooper is waiting and excited to see her again.
The first time something like this happened, she was with her son outside of a movie theater. A family recognized her from the film they just saw.
“They were taking pictures with me and said, ‘This is going to be our conversation at Thanksgiving,’ ” Meck said. But what those people didn’t know is that she would tell the same story at her own Thanksgiving.
Meck is an actress. It’s something she aspired for in her younger years, but raising three children makes that kind of career path logistically difficult. Since her children grew into adults, Meck has reentered the acting world and landed minor roles in a handful of major films.
Her latest was playing Judge Kayle in Southpaw, set to hit theaters across the nation on July 24. She’s billed alongside names like Rachel McAdams, Jack Gyllenhaal, Naomie Harris, Forest Whitaker and 50 Cent. One of her three scenes even made one of the trailers, where her voice narrates the courtroom drama surrounding fictional boxer Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal).
“Except for the one I go to at the shore, I’ve never been in a trailer,” Meck joked.
She also previously played a high school principal in Silver Linings Playbook, which starred Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro. When Lawrence and Cooper joined Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Louis C.K. on the cast of American Hustle (2012), Meck was there again, this time playing the mother of Cooper’s character.
It seems like a smooth ride, but it’s far from it. Any one of these roles could have belonged to someone else, and that’s something Meck recognizes as part of the nature of the business.
“You can’t take it to heart or you’ll feel like a loser all the time. Only one person gets the role,” she said. “To keep hope and positivity, you have to be a little delusional.”
After not hearing from director Antoine Fuqua after her Skype audition for Southpaw for over a month, she couldn’t shake that loser feeling — she wanted this part. So when the call finally came in, you can imagine how she felt.
But even that doesn’t hold a candle to the feeling of attending the Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles with the cast of American Hustle, which was nominated for several awards.
“That was without a doubt the most wonderful night of my life,” she said. “Oprah Winfrey had a worse seat than me. I mean, come on.”
It was one of the few moments as an actress that she was allowed to be starstruck. Usually, there’s a certain level of professionalism expected that does not include gawking or asking for autographs. But even during the SAG awards, she maintained her cool. A waiter directed her view to stars at other tables. “Brad Pitt: eleven o’clock,” he would say, and Meck would sneak a quick glance. She also took quite a few selfies with Bradley Cooper.
But despite these surreal moments and her desire to experience more of them, Meck is a Hatboro lifer, through and through. It’s where she was raised, where she raised her family and where one of her children and her three grandchildren, Geordi, Claudia and Eliza, live.
Hatboro is where she spent several years running her business, Pat’s Hats, on York Road before it closed in 2007. It’s not far from her job at Upper Moreland Primary School working in autistic support. It’s where she and her husband Bill spent their last 51 years of marriage.
Still, if Los Angeles calls her name for a few days of work, she might run to the next plane, but she always buys the round-trip ticket.
“I just like my roots in Hatboro,” she said. “It’s home.”
“Southpaw” comes to theaters on July 24. For more information on Patsy Meck, visit www.imdb.com/name/nm0575348/.