Dr. Randy Fink
BY CHUCK SPENCER
A few key scenes often define our lives. Take actor-turned-physician Randy Fink, SPA-CAS/BA ’89.
Kingston, Jamaica. As a sophomore at AU, majoring in political science as well as theatre, he takes part in a study abroad program. While volunteering at a clinic, he tries to help a pregnant young woman with a serious health problem. Her placenta has become implanted over her cervix.
“She bled to death while I was holding her hand simply because the system was not equipped to save her life,” Fink recalls.
Many years later, long after that semester in Jamaica led to a sense that someday he wanted to be a doctor, Fink chooses obstetrics and gynecology as his specialty, partly because of a helpless young woman he couldn’t save.
LA. The acting thing’s working out. He’s got an apartment in New York and a place in Los Angeles.
He’s had parts in Exorcist III and Look Who’s Talking Too. He does an episode of the Robert Stack TV series Unsolved Mysteries, a predecessor to America’s Most Wanted. He works in theatre, appearing at the Kennedy Center and the National Theatre and off-Broadway. He’s even played a doctor: in Philadelphia, he’s the physician in the emergency room “running code” on the Tom Hanks character after he collapses in the courtroom.
And that’s not all. He does commercials for Twix, for Little Caesar’s, for Tide and Kodak.
Fink’s success is no surprise to AU theatre professor Gail Humphries Mardirosian, who remembers his determination. “Even as an undergraduate, Randy had the drive, discipline, and focus that allowed him to continually refine his skills as an actor,” she says. In fact, while still at AU he landed roles in As the World Turns and a small part in the Woody Allen film Crimes and Misdemeanors.
But Fink’s success makes it hard to quit. He knows he needs to move on. If he’s going to med school, he’ll first have to complete a postbaccalaureate program. “What’s funny is I didn’t do a damned bit of science,” he says of his undergraduate years. “I probably did biology. That was it.”
So he finally pulls the plug. He sells the place in LA, sells the apartment in NYC.
Miami. After completing studies at the Medical College of Virginia (he started a few years shy of 30) and postdoctoral training, he’s now the managing partner of the Miami Center of Excellence for Obstetrics and Gynecology, a practice with 20 people on staff. One of those people is his wife, Stephanie, a nurse practitioner who’s also training to become one of the office’s midwives.
Fink is proud of the practice’s innovative approach to noninvasive surgery, and its approach to making patients comfortable by offering services such as massage for pregnant women.
He and his wife have two children, and he can grill in his yard in shorts and a tee shirt nearly any day of the year.
“There are moments that I’ll walk out and smell the air in the morning or hear a bird chirp that reminds me of what it was like in Jamaica and I say, ‘You know, I think I’m in the right place,’” he muses.
And yet, not a day goes by that he doesn’t think about what might have been if he had stayed in acting. “I’m very happy with where I am and with my beautiful family, and we have a well-respected practice and work very hard to make a difference. But it took a lot to get here. It’s a truly abusive process that just really sucks the life out of you in many ways.
“As my hair gets grayer and my ulcer gets bigger, all the while I’m thinking to myself, ‘Wonder what my house in the Hollywood Hills would have been like?’ But in reality you go where you’re called, and I really am a believer that when you have a calling there’s not a lot you can do about it. You just sort of have to answer.”
Just after he’s decided to quit acting to pursue his dream of becoming a doctor, his agent calls. He’s got the perfect part—the role of a medical student in a TV series pilot.
Fink says, “Look, I’ve made this decision. I’m moving on. I’m not coming back to audition for a pilot because who knows what happens to pilots? For every one that makes the air there’s another 20 that never get shown anyplace.”
The agent persists, but no dice. Fink’s done.
The name of the series? ER.