“There is not one memory, it just all bleeds together into one good memory of rice and beans, diseased dogs, burning tires, good friends and missing home,” he said. “I learned patience. I learned how to rely on my own testimony. It was a hard mission in every way a mission can be hard. I learned how to be strong in the church despite difficult circumstances. It was good preparation for a career in Hollywood.”
A degree in economics?
Following his mission, Heyborne started out studying music at the University of Utah and he excelled. But his father encouraged him to reconsider his course because “you can’t support your family with a music degree.”
He remembered liking an economics class he had and changed his major.
“I went from straight As to barely passing,” Heyborne said.
Although his heart wasn’t in it, he learned that in economics the data could always be manipulated and the only people who make money are the landlords, so he needed to own property.
“I learned that in order to survive, I needed to make money,” he said with a laugh.
A love story
During college, Heyborne married his high school sweetheart, Trish. They met in seventh grade and were close friends during high school. In addition to being attractive, she was cool and comfortable in her own skin, he said.
“While other girls would change to be around a guy, she is one of those who said, ‘I’m going have fun, you want to come, come. If not, I don’t care.’ Man, that was so attractive,” Heyborne said. “She became my best friend and was the perfect match for me.”
The couple has three kids, one son, 11, and two daughters, ages 8 and 3. Whether they are going to Sam’s Club or playing board games, Heyborne is happiest when he is with his wife. He says she doesn’t even get jealous when he has to kiss another woman in movie.
“My wife and I have a great relationship.”
Cancer claimed Heyborne’s mother toward the end of 1999.
“My mom’s death was hard,” he said. “She was so young and it never crossed my mind that she would not be around to see my kids or the successes in my career. Her passing made me aware of being thankful for every moment that I have. There are times I think, ‘She would have loved this moment. She would be laughing at this,’ and I try to slow down at those moments and really take them in.”
LDS in Hollywood
Inevitably the question of being a Mormon in Hollywood comes up, and Heyborne is ready.
“People complicate it. I think it’s the same as being an LDS doctor or an LDS journalist. It’s no different from any other profession," he said. "You are either going to do it or you’re not."
Heyborne says he holds a current temple recommend and does his best to be faithful to the teachings of the church. When people find out he’s a Mormon from Utah, they typically ask, "How was that?"
“As if I once had a disease. How was that? It was fantastic. I love my religion,” Heyborne said. “You have to work hard in this religion to be a good-standing member and it makes me a better person. The older I get, the more I find myself willing to share it with others. I approach it like this is who I am, I care about you and this is important. Since I approach it like that, it’s been so much easier.”
Since his youth, scouting has been a highlight in Heyborne’s life. He even played the role of a Scoutmaster in the 2009 film, “Scout Camp.”
He earned his Eagle Scout award. His service project included collecting food and clothing and distributing the donations at an Indian reservation in Arizona.
Now as an adult leader, Heyborne relishes the chance to interact with the boys as they play with pocketknives and pinewood derby cars.
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