VJ Foster has acting chops that were honed working with Academy Award winning directors such as Steven Spielberg (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull), Clint Eastwood (Million Dollar Baby and Flags of Our Fathers), Sam Mendes (Jarhead), Susanne Bier (Things We Lost in the Fire) and in other Best Picture nominated films such as The Shawshank Redemption (directed by multiple Oscar nominee Frank Darabont) and The Insider (directed by multiple Oscar nominee Michael Mann). A partial list of his television credits include guest starring roles as Russian assassins on two different series (Burn Notice and NCIS), as a lonely and addicted gambler guilty of murder (Cold Case), a deadly terrorist (24), and as the recurring, safe-cracking, jack-of-all-trades, go-to guy Smitty on The Shield. Other credits include S.W.A.T., American Horror Story, Criminal Minds.
VJ is a member of The Actors Gang, the award winning and internationally renowned Los Angeles based theater company that he co-founded with other UCLA theater students including Academy Award winner and longtime Artistic Director Tim Robbins. In his more than thirty year history with the company, VJ has held the position of Associate Artistic Director and performed in dozens of productions at their home stages in Los Angeles and on national and international tours including extended runs in New York City and London, theater festivals in Spain, Greece, Scotland, Australia and Hong Kong, Mexico and Argentina. VJ has also taught the Gang performance style in acting workshops on many university campuses throughout the United States as part of the Gang residency program. He has been an instructor in the Actors Gang Education Initiative and is currently working with high school kids in Los Angeles as The Actors' Gang teams with the Youth Policy Institute (YPI) in a local education outreach program that looks to compensate for cuts in district funding for arts programs by inviting young performers onto the stage in after school activities. VJ and others work to bring art and empowerment to young minds; encouraging teamwork, composition and creativity. This is somewhat of an extension of VJs other teaching experience, the dozen years he spent as a middle and high school social studies instructor with the Los Angeles Unified School District. In addition, VJ is a contributing teaching artist with the Actors' Gang Prison Project, a program that brings rehabilitative tools to incarcerated adults in twelve different California State Prisons. VJ and other Actors' Gang professionals lend their theater skills, storytelling and writing abilities to help participants channel and express emotion in ways that can bring balance, renewed dignity, empathy and a stronger sense of community.
Through such practices, recidivism has been dramatically reduced and participant testimonials reveal increased optimism, joy and lifepaths that have been redirected.
A winner of the Garland Award for his performance as Herod in Salome, VJ was also nominated for an Ovation Award for Lead Actor by the LA Stage Alliance for his 2008 performance as Cotton Slocum in Carnage, A Comedy at Actors Gang.
A native of San Francisco and an avid 49er and Giants fan, VJ grew up in a large family with eight brothers and sisters (colorful characters all). He raced motocross in his youth and ran on the track team at Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo, the alma mater of Super Bowl MVPs Lynn Swann and Tom Brady, as well as MLB home run king Barry Bonds. And while VJ did not perform onstage in high school, he began his acting career at an early age while making home gangster movies with his grade school chums. He has had a love of the outdoors throughout his life and still enjoys spending the summer months hiking and camping in the Sierras and swimming its lakes and rivers. He likes skiing, rafting and houseboating with his family and friends and can never get enough of travel; seeing new places and experiencing new things, new environments, people, cultures and food... are the things that feed and inspire his creative energy and help to bring a level of compassion and humanity to his work both on camera and on stage.
VJ plays a stellar 2nd base with his multi-title winning softball team The Bubblin Crude and otherwise loves to host bbqs at his home with friends or just chill with a cool drink, music that makes you move and his lovely wife Lindsley Allen, the accomplished dancer/choreographer, original Pussycat Doll and currently the creator and director of the smash hit