Following up a successful career as a musician and drum instructor, Gary Whitesides says he is proud to add “actor” to his resume. He recently landed a role in the upcoming motion picture “Death of a Boxer,” which chronicles the life of the legendary former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson.
Whitesides, who has played drums at Victor Valley Christian Church in Hesperia for the past 20 years, said he had always wanted to try his hand at acting and was pleasantly surprised he found success right out of the gate.
“I started this process about a year ago when I signed up on the Explore Talent website,” said Whitesides, 51. “Not that long afterwards, I received an email about an opportunity to submit an audition tape for a role in ‘Death of a Boxer’ as a ringside announcer.
“So I did and they contacted me and said I had won the role. It was all very exciting.”
“Death of a Boxer” was produced by Blue Shade Films, an independent company based in Kansas City, Missouri. According to Whitesides, the movie will be submitted to film festivals and possibly distributed to theaters.
Drew Temple stars as Tyson and also produces and directs.
“We filmed my parts at a Blue Diamond Gym in North Las Vegas,” said Whitesides, an Apple Valley resident whose mother acted in commercials and television shows such as “Gunsmoke” and Art Linkletter’s “House Party.” “I was in a scene right after Tyson knocked out Michael Spinks in the first round of the fight.
“Although I was excited, I was a little overwhelmed, too. Making movies is a very technical process and a lot goes into the preparation. I learned that the most important thing about acting is that you really have to get into the character and what the story is about so your lines come out more naturally.”
Whitesides says he plans to continue auditioning for acting roles. In the meantime, he anticipates staying busy teaching drums and guitar at his home-based business, Gary’s Drum Studio. He founded the studio in 1986 after a five-year run as a drum instructor at the former Tom’s Music on Bear Valley Road in Victorville.
Along with his teaching, Whitesides has been a frequent performer at Hesperia Days, as well as at City of Hesperia events. He also has been the drummer for country music singer/songwriter Roberta Linn, a former backup singer on the Lawrence Welk Show from 1949 to 1954.
Additionally, Whitesides has performed with notable musicians at concert halls and nightclubs in Las Vegas, Palm Springs, Laughlin and Dublin, Ireland.
“I just did two big concerts, one in Temecula and one in Indian Wells,” said Whitesides. “It was with drummers and singers who had worked with Buddy Rich and Frank Sinatra.”
For more information about Whitesides, visit, To inquire about drum or guitar lessons, call 760-242-8772.