Sep. 14—With keen anticipation, Borden Springs native Troy Beecham recently watched the new Sylvester Stallone movie, "Samaritan," available on Amazon Prime TV. He is in two of the movie's background scenes.
His appearance is one of dozens of roles he has had in both A- and B-list movies, television, live stage shows and independently produced films over the years.
Normally, Troy's twin brother, Roy, would also be in the movie, but he is recovering from surgery.
"My health has hit me hard this year," Roy said from his Powder Springs, Ga., home. "I enjoyed being on movie sets until this year happened. I hope to get back."
The Beecham twins, 75, appeared with Stallone in another movie a few years ago, and they have appeared as extras alongside other well-known actors, such as Ed Harris, Jason Bateman, Kevin Bacon, Jennifer Aniston, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldaña, Robert Duvall and more.
A few of their projects include "Christmas Party," "In Dubious Battle," "The Ricky Smiley TV Show," "Vice Principals," "Doom Patrol," "Constantine" and others — not household names but enjoyed by many fans on streaming platforms. However, having a part in a Prime movie is no small thing.
Troy has a small part in the upcoming movie "Garden of the Galaxies 3," a Marvel comic movie due out in May.
Troy and Roy are only about four feet, eight inches tall. They have a condition known as achondroplasia dwarfism, which hasn't stopped them from having families of their own, successful careers and, after retirement, their interesting hobby of appearing in film and shows.
In 1970, when they were in their twenties, they began working in Atlanta for Western Electric Company, now AT&T. By 1972, they found themselves installing telephone equipment in cities throughout the country, including New York, which was quite different from any experience they'd known growing up in Borden Springs.
"We took in the sights," Troy said, "We went to Yankee and Shea Stadium and the Empire State Building. We saw the Broadway production of 'Oh! Calcutta!' a show that has been outlawed now because of nudity. We just took it all in."
The brothers were born into a large family with loving parents, but the family was poor, even by the standards of the 1940s. They had no running water in their house, had to help their family work in the garden to grow their food, and had to help kill hogs for pork.
They would have helped their siblings in their father's moonshine business, but their legs were too short to outrun the "revenooers." They left those jobs for their taller siblings. At times, though, their daddy's customers would toss them a quarter or half-dollar if they would dance.
"We'd jump around and clap our hands," Troy said. "That was a lot of money back then."
Troy and Roy, despite their size as youngsters, never had been told they had dwarfism until they reached high school. They were related to so many children in their elementary school that they were accepted and loved at school also. High school was about the same, but by then they realized their size made them different. However, during their teen years, despite their poverty and small stature, they caught rides with friends, stole each other's girlfriends, and zipped around in other teens' cars in the "big cities" of Piedmont and Anniston.
After graduation, they had an opportunity to catch a bus and attend Harry M. Ayers State Trade School where they took different study courses, but their paths took them to the same career in electronics. Their height sometimes gave them an advantage when installing electrical wiring because they could fit into small spaces.
Later, the two married women taller than they were, and they had regular-sized children. At times, their jobs took them in different directions, but they worked hard until retirement and settled down with their families in Powder Springs, Ga. After a couple of years, someone invited them to a casting call for a movie in Atlanta.
"We didn't even know what a casting call was," Troy said.
In 2013, their tried out for their first part in a television show. The Rickey Smiley Show ran for three seasons beginning in 2013. In the scene, they were shooting pool.
"We showed up," Roy said, "and a woman said she'd keep us in mind. On the way home, she called. We arrived for the filming, and learned it was about little people. The night they filmed it, we looked at each other and said, "Man, there were a lot of little people."
Before the pandemic, Peachtree City resident Becky Holt headed the "extras" department for a company in Atlanta that hired background workers. When she interviewed the Beechams, she hired them and later became impressed with their work ethic.
"Those two are characters," she said. "They each have a great personality and get along with everyone."
The two are set to appear in two local events come December, the Christmas parades of both Piedmont and Rock Run. By then, Roy hopes to be on the mend.
"I'm getting better every day," he said, "and want to return. There's a lot of work out there."