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The Reel Cowboys of Hollywood

In Memory of the Founder of the Reel Cowboys, Jack 'J.C.' Iversen
In Memory
of the Founder

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Michael Shanto
Charter Member
Michael Shanto - Actor and ProducerMichael Shanto will have you in stitches with laughter with his outlandish comedy routine. He is well known through out Los Angeles as a real kind of guy. Mike is a comedian/actor who never stops telling jokes or performing some kind of slight of hand magic at every opportunity upon meeting new enthusiasts of comedy.

Mike is venturing back into acting with high expectations of landing a role in his favorite film genre, westerns. He is also trying his hand as a writer, with ideas for a comedy show in the likes of the Soupy Sale days, a one man show for kids, but with plenty of adult humor. Keep an eye open for this show, it will be a blast.
Michael Shanto Riding an ElephantMichael Shanto’s first acting job was riding a huge elephant for two days in the same jungle where they filmed those old Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan movies. It was quite a sight to see nine-year-old Michael walking down Hollywood Boulevard wearing nothing but a loincloth and carrying a real live woolly monkey in his arms as he entered the casting office to audition for the part of ‘Boy” for an Opel Car commercial.

Michael Shanto in 'Hair'He then went on to take acting lessons at the Don Dubbins Acting Studio. While in the drama class at Monroe High School, Michael performed a hilarious pantomime routine for the entire school. He also enrolled in the “Steve North Comedy Class.” Afterwards, he performed at the Granada Hills Playhouse in “Born Yesterday” and “Mr. Roberts.” He also appeared at the Burbank Mayflower Club in the play “Peter Pan (or Who Really Wants to Grow Up Anyway)” as “Bill Jukes.”

Michael Shanto in 'Hair'Acting Lessons and Experiences
Michael Shanto in 'Hair'As a young adult, Michael was involved in many films and television shows, such as “Raging Bull,” “Personal Best,” “Devlin Connection,” and Cagney and Lacey, just to name a few. He had a great time when he worked for two weeks in the movie, “Hair” as a private in the Army at Fort Erwin in Barstow with actors Treat Williams and John Savage.

Mike continued his acting training by enrolling in the Richard Brander Acting Studio and the Lance Lindsay Film Acting Studio, doing cold readings and film acting at Columbia Ranch, and Weist Barron Hill Acting for Television and Film. He was trained in sword fencing for film, played “Sheriff Robert Olinger” in a screenplay called “The Last April” about Billy the Kid, and worked as a cowboy in the movie “Django Unchained.”

Michael Shanto in 'Hair'Michael has also been a ballroom dance instructor at the Arthur Murray’s Dance Studio in Beverly Hills and has performed as a dancer in an MTV Video by Phil Seymour called “Let Her Dance.”

Michael Shanto in 'Hair'Recently, Michael worked as an actor, producer, and writer for a post-production movie called “The Italian Cowboy.” He was later interviewed by Animal Rights Activist, Randal Massaro about his acting career.

Personal Training and Experiences
When Michael got older, he worked for the City of Los Angeles Recreation and Parks department as a gymnastics coach throughout the year and a lifeguard during the summers. He was also a merit badge counselor, for the Boy Scouts of America, in kayaking and canoeing. Later, he became a Full-time Aquatics Facility Manager for the City of Los Angeles Recreation and Parks department (Citywide Aquatics Division). In addition, he was a springboard diving instructor for all Los Angeles city lifeguards and has certification in Open Water scuba in both the NAUI (Nat’l Assoc. for Underwater Instructors) Michael Shanto in 'Hair'and PADI (Professional Assoc. of Diving Instructors). He was also the editor, writer, and director of a lifeguard training video for Citywide Aquatics.

In the 90’s, Michael spent a year with the Altadena Mountain Search and Rescue team, and later joined the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, going on to become a Flotilla Member Training Officer (11th Coast Guard District), followed by being on the Swift Water Rescue Team for Los Angeles City Recreation and Parks Citywide Aquatics.
If you want to brighten up your day with some hilarious jokes, or if you need a cowboy for an up and coming western, get more insight and information on Mike at

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