George Harrington Butts ’08 began acting professionally when he was 6 years old, though his first stage appearance came about by accident. While his older brother was singing in the Metropolitan Opera’s Children’s Chorus, young George sat quietly in the cafeteria during rehearsals, doing his homework. One day his mother received a call from the director of Madama Butterfly, asking to audition “the little blond boy from the cafeteria.” Butts went on to appear in the Met’s productions of Samson et Dalila, Faust, Othello, and La Bohème.
During college, he appeared in a Triangle Club show and in several off-off-Broadway performances of plays by Shakespeare. But it was majoring in comparative literature at Princeton, with a focus on Spanish and Latin, that may have played the biggest role in Butts’ acting career, by helping him land several Spanish-speaking parts. Butts is not a native speaker, but he began studying the language in seventh grade, watched the Spanish miniseries called telenovelas after school to improve his skills, and took several Spanish courses at Princeton.
Butts made his television debut in 2013 as a Spanish-speaking Russian mafioso on the show El Capo 3. His latest project is La Gata (The Stray Cat), a Mexican telenovela, which was broadcast last year on Univision, an American Spanish-language network. He played Henry, a college student who befriends a young Mexican man in New York City.
Speaking Spanish like a native has given Butts “something unique,” he says. Eventually he would like to land more English-language parts. Pursuing an acting career is tough but, he says, “happiness is booking the next job and being a working actor.”
Résumé: Comparative literature major. Spanish-speaking roles on El Capo 3 and the telenovela La Gata.