Countdown to 'Star Wars'

Fresno’s Sharon Leal recalls first time seeing ‘Star Wars’

Sharon Leal, Beyonce Knowles and Anika Noni Rose star in “Dreakgirls.”
Sharon Leal, Beyonce Knowles and Anika Noni Rose star in “Dreakgirls.” David James

Sharon Leal, who was drawn to acting and singing while attending the Roosevelt School of the Arts in the late 1980s, remembers clearly the first time she saw “Star Wars.”

“I was in Atwater,” Leal says. “I went with my babysitter and some neighborhood kids to see the movie.”

Leal would have only been 5 years old when “Star Wars: A New Hope” was released. But, the reason she remembers the movie so clearly is that there was a packed house at the theater. The only other film she can remembr with such a full audience was “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.”

“I remember the movie blowing my mind,” the actress says.

After leaving Fresno, Leal spent three years on the stage in New York City and Arizona before landing a role on the daytime drama “Guiding Light.” That was followed by a starring role on the short-lived series “Legacy.” Her other series include “Boston Public” and “Hellcats.”

She also starred in the film version of “Dreamgirls” and in two Tyler Perry movies, “Why Did I Get Married?” and “Why Did I Get Married Too?”

Her most recent work was the feature film “Addicted” and the cable movie “White Water.” She will star in the new ABC Family series “Recovery Road.”