Barry C. Lawrence, author of "In Search of River Phoenix: The Truth Behind the Myth," was incidentally present on the set of River Phoenix's first theatrical film, "Explorers;" he remembers seeing River with his two young co-stars, Ethan Hawke and Jason Presson but, in common with a surprising number of Phoenix fans, he did not develop an interest in the actor until after his death. When that interest led him to research and write this book, he brought to the task talents developed and sharpened in an already established career as a writer, speaker and teacher.
A native and current resident of California, Lawrence has degrees from Santa Rosa Junior College and Sonoma State University. His studies in speech and the dramatic arts led to a college level teaching credential. An aeronautics expert, he has taught aviation courses at Santa Rosa Junior College and Mendocino Community College. He is a licensed commercial pilot, a flight instructor, and for eleven years, he was a Test Examiner for the Federal Aviation Administration. He is a member of the Petaluma Area Pilots Association and the Golden Gate Fliers.
Lawrence's graduate studies in the field of wine culture, taken at the University of California at Davis, the German Wein Academy, Germany, Sonoma State University and elsewhere, have him teaching winemaking courses, and wine education and history in various venues. He has spoken to The Dionysian Wine Society, the Greater Washington, DC, Wine School and the American Wine Society as well as to six World Conferences of the International Society of Wine Educators, and he has served as travel guide for the World Conference of Knights of the Vine.
Currently Lawrence is wine educator for Eduquest. A professional wine judge, he is a published writer in national magazines. His professional affiliations have included the Dionysian Wine Society, Zinfandel Advocates and Producers, and the Rhone Rangers.
He has lectured to MENSA, to the Lions, Elks and Rotary Clubs, and at ITC the International Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) School in Prague, Czech Republic. Moreover, he is the first westerner to lecture at the Progenitor University in the People's Republic of China.
The owner of a vineyard in Sonoma County, California, Barry C. Lawrence is co-founder and past president of the Southern Sonoma County Resource Conservation District. He is past president of the Nor-Cal chapter of the Society of Wine Educators and has sat on its national board. He was a member of the Petaluma Visitors Program, a former board member of the Sonoma County Harvest Fair, and twice president of the Sonoma County Farm Trails Board. Not incidentally, he is also the longest serving Airport Commissioner of the Municipal Airport of Petaluma.
Lawrence's accomplishments have earned him a listing in "Who's Who In California," and his civic interests beyond Petaluma include memberships in the American Civil Liberties Union, Scouting For All, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, Amnesty International, the Human Rights Campaign, Equality California, and NGPA.
Barry C. Lawrence has traveled in fifty five nations and his lectures have given him an international reputation as an educator. In presentations that are both informative and entertaining, people of all levels of knowledge and expertise always find something new, interesting and useful.
So will it also be for the fast-growing number of fans of the gifted young actor Barry Lawrence has profiled in "In Search of River Phoenix."