When Leslie Thurman was growing up in Brownfield in the early 1970s, she really didn’t have any idea where life was going to take her. She was raised in a farm family, the daughter of James and Ruth Thurman.
Leslie graduated from BHS in 1976 and headed off to Texas Tech University. While at Tech, she became involved in theatre and in voice.
While at Tech, Leslie became involved in the theater and voice departments, and actually began her professional acting career while still a student at Tech.
Leslie was named Miss Lubbock in 1978, and went on to land a spot in the final ten at the Miss Texas pageant.
Leslie has now been a professional actor for over 40 years, and has lived in New York City for the last 21 years. That is a pretty long way from Brownfield, for sure. But when Leslie found her dream, she pursued it with all she had.
Leslie has had quite the career. She is currently playing the role of Mrs. Higgins in the National Touring Company Production of “My Fair Lady.” She will be in this role until next February, traveling across the country to perform.
On Broadway, Leslie appeared in The Boy From Oz with Hugh Jackman and in Mamma Mia!
She appeared in the North American tour of Fiddler on the Roof with Topol, Harvey Fierstein and Theodore Bikel.
Her Off-Broadway credits include The Audience at Transport Group. Selected regional credits include The Music Man as Eulalie Shinn at Arizona Theatre Company; The Taming of the Shrew as Widow, A Christmas Carol as Mrs. Cratchit and Rattlesnake Kate as Kate 3, all at Denver Center; Hello, Dolly! as Dolly Levi and Memphis as Gladys Calhoun at Gateway Playhouse; Sister Act as Mother Superior at Arts Center of Coastal Carolina; and Macbeth as Lady Macbeth at Shakespeare Festival of Dallas.
Her film and TV credits include HBO’s “The Leftovers,” “One Life To Live” and “The One O’Clock.”
Her video game credits include “Red Dead Redemption II” and “Grand Theft Auto V” for Rockstar Games.
She stated, “No matter where all I have been, Brownfield has always held a warm place in my heart. I actually started singing at the First Methodist Church there.” Leslie still recognizes the beauty in her hometown. “Even though there are not many trees, Brownfield is a great place. The sky is just beautiful. I love when I get the opportunity to come back to the area, if not to Brownfield, and remember how beautiful it really is.”
When asked what it would take for someone from the farm land of Terry County to get to where she is, her advice is, “Be trained. Get training in musical theater. Get trained in singing and dancing. Go to college or a conservatory. And most of all, be persistent and be competitive. You can’t just sit back and expect success.”
Leslie also advises that you have a career you love that you can fall back on. “It is very difficult to make a living in the acting field, when you are getting started. Be sure you have something else you love to do that you can fall back on to pay the bills.”
As Texas Tech likes to say, “From here it is possible.” The same is true in coming from Brownfield High School. Leslie has shown us all, that from here, it is indeed possible. Dream your dreams, then do what it takes to make those dreams a reality.