From Actress to Private Investigator to Attorney to Author. Starting Over… and Over by @SmartSuspense

by Robin Lamont

My husband says because I’m a Gemini I get bored easily. That’s true, but I prefer to think that the tectonic shifts in the job directions I’ve taken over the years have been a result of adjusting to the changes that life inevitably hurls and the balancing of risks. Actress – Private Investigator – Attorney – Author.

I started out an actress. And my “break” came early. I was at Carnegie-Mellon University as a drama major when I was cast in a school workshop production that later became the musical Godspell. I left college to do the show Off-Broadway, then Broadway, then finally the movie version. (Just for fun, here’s a link to me singing “Day By Day’” from the film Leaving school was risky because I missed out on a degree and more training as an actor. But once the opportunity presented itself to work in the real world, I took it.

What followed was a fairly good run as a Broadway actress, doing several shows including Grease and Working. But I never became a movie star, nor was I able to get “work” whenever I needed. So I moonlighted at a New York City private investigations firm that specialized in anti-counterfeiting and hired actors to work part time in undercover roles. During that time, I was still singing, writing music, and performing in cabaret venues, which kept my artistic dreams alive. And in the PI world, I met an amazing array of people, from corporate execs and trademark attorneys to FBI agents, US Customs agents, and of course, a few bad guys. But my viability depended on not being recognizable, and after a few years showing my face on Canal Street and Bronx warehouses, I began to think that being an undercover investigator wasn’t a stable career path.

I had just married and my husband encouraged me to go to law school. The risk in doing that for us was huge. Because of my interaction with trademark attorneys, a legal career seemed appealing. But going to law school meant amassing thousands of dollars in school loans, four years of studying (going at night). And most importantly, it entailed a huge commitment that would put my creativity aside to pursue a “real” job.

I opted for the more reliable path, and after law school, I did get a “real” job as an Assistant District Attorney in New York. For many years I dug into the work, its predictability and financial security a relief from the years of not knowing where the next paycheck was coming from. Then our son was born. Five years later, we adopted a two-and-a- half-year-old girl from the Philippines, a child who arrived with an unexpected package of physical and emotional needs. Child care became a growing problem. Au pairs came and went, and often it was like having a teenager in the house, which only added to the burden. So after long evenings of discussion with my husband, I took yet another plunge – and left the DA’s office to be a full time Mom.

While the kids were in school, I began writing, and I could feel the creative juices beginning to flow again. No acting, or singing, but using words to create characters, stories and emotions. And although it took a while, I think ultimately my legal training gave me the discipline I needed to sit my butt down every day and write. First, a suspense novel that I shelved, then another suspense novel that I self-published. Now I’m about to release a third novel called Wright for America that draws on my years as an actress and undercover. Time will tell whether or not staying a writer is too great a financial burden, but I have an incredibly wonderful husband who not only supports my efforts, but is my editor-in-chief. He has helped me find my creative side again – and letting that go might be a risk not worth taking.

The journey from actress to lawyer to novelist has offered me a wealth of experiences and a chance to meet extraordinary people along the way. To bring all of the stories, the varied landscapes and emotions together in my writing is deeply rewarding, and I welcome the chance to share that with my readers.

I live in Westchester with my wonderful husband and two almost-grown kids who are in the process of creating their own journeys.


Robin Lamont: Broadway actress to private investigator to Assistant District Attorney – and now novelist.  The journey has offered me a wealth of experiences and a chance to meet extraordinary people along the way. To bring all of the stories, the varied landscapes and emotions together in my writing is deeply rewarding, and I welcome the chance to share that with my readers. Find out more about Robin at her site

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3 Replies to “From Actress to Private Investigator to Attorney to Author. Starting Over… and Over by @SmartSuspense”

  1. Gary Knoble

    Snowdon Parlette forwarded this wonderful message to me. You are certainly living life, as I knew you would when you were still a teenager. Our memories of those few wonderful years in Brooklyn Heights are very dear. My own career was not as varied, but fulfilling nevertheless. I retired from The Hartford Insurance Company about six years ago. During my last years at The Hartford and for several years after retirement I had the pleasure of working with the Chinese insurance industry to develop professional education programs. I am now totally retired in the sense of doing things only because I want to. (Although in truth I have almost always done that.) We became interested in the work of the many wonderful artists who worked in Hartford over the years and have acquired quite a collection of their works ranging from the early 1800’s to the 21st century. I am currently considering a reference books to keep these many talented people from obscurity. James and I still live together. He retired a few years ago after many years at Hartt Scool of Music as Professor of Composition and Chair of the Composition Department. He has written many wonderful works ranging from symphonic music to an opera on a text by Gertrude Stein entitled “The World is Round”. A collaboration with the British painter David Hockney is in the words. While James was completing his PhD at North Texas University we met Robert Black who moved with us when we returned east to live and work in Hartford. Robert is now a professor of double Bass at Hartt and a member of the world famous contemporary music performance group Bang on a Can. Good luck on your newest book Robin. We look forward to reading it.

  2. Dale Perryman

    Great story of your own progression. I think what you were doing was called a Pivot. A slight adjustment from your earlier direction. It’s always fun to discover some of the irregular paths that individuals have taken to get to their current direction. Thanks for the interesting post.

  3. George Gerdes

    Robin Lamont, you’ve
    lived 10 lifetimes in one extraordinary incarnation! A true renaissance lady – you are inspiring, super smart & simply lovely. I feel lucky to have been in your orbit. Much love to you & your beautiful family!

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