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Garden City Native Living California Dream

GCHS alumn makes television debut on The Office

Gazing up at the legendary Hollywood sign while cruising in her car, Sue Redman is living the California dream. After moving to Los Angeles, CA, only six months ago, the Garden City native recently made her television debut on the NBC hit show The Office.

With an already successful career in theater in Chicago, Redman broke into the television and film industry acting in Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion, and producing the independent film The Wise Kids.

Last February, she auditioned for the 20th episode of The Office and was thrilled to land her first television role starring in scenes opposite Ed Helms (The Hangover) and Ellie Kemper (Bridesmaids), where she played the character “Lauren.”

“Ed Helms and Ellie Kemper were so good to me…they were both great to work with and we had a lot of fun. We laughed a lot. It was exactly as much fun as you think it would be,” she says.

Redman, who was born in Floral Park, moved with her family to the Village of Garden City when she was 12. It was there that she was first bitten by the acting bug in high school. “As soon as I got that first taste, I felt very at home, very like ‘yeah, this is what I am supposed to be doing,’” she said.

After graduation from Garden City High School in 2000, the actress moved to Chicago to attend Emerson College and study with the world-renowned Steppenwolf Theatre Company. While living in the Windy City, she acted in theatre, film and commercials and started her own theatre company, SiNNERMAN Ensemble, which won four After Dark Awards.

Now a resident of the West Coast, Redman says she has fond memories of growing up in Garden City. “I loved living in a quiet neighborhood with lots of kids and also having the access to New York City. I feel like for me that was so ideal to have the small-town upbringing with access of all the culture that New York has to bring,” she said.

Redman says she still keeps in touch with her old classmates at Garden City High School and her parents remain residents in the village. “I still hang out with Garden City people a couple times a year, whenever I am home…Every time I come back, I marvel at how beautiful it is,” she said.

Even though Redman’s career is on the fast track to success, she had to overcome many physical obstacles to get there. Five years ago, she was diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, a rare and often-thought untreatable disease that causes spontaneous joint dislocations and severe chronic pain.

Though she was told by doctors to prepare for the worst and stop acting, she was determined to get well. “It’s a really rare condition. It’s about 1 in 15,000 people. It’s poorly understood,” she said.

Redman set out to find a physical therapist who was willing to work with her and after a year and a half, she maintains that she is about 90 percent better.     

Adopting a healthy lifestyle, she enjoys challenging herself to hike, surf and ski. “It’s hard once you have that sound bite in your head of ‘you have this disease, it’s going to get worse; you should stop doing everything.’ That’s kind of the most poisonous thing and thinking and treating yourself like a delicate piece of glass. That inhibits life the most,” she explained.

Even though the odds were against her becoming well again, Redman said she has learned from her acting career that odds don’t really mean anything.

She recalled a piece of advice from an alternative healer who also aided her in her recovery. “He said, ‘The odds are just stories about other people that has nothing to do with you,’” Redman said.

“And when you think about it, that is absolutely true. That’s literally what the odds are — just information about other people’s experiences. That continues to be a recurring theme in my life of like I am just going to assume the odds don’t apply to me and act accordingly and hope for the best.”