A Renaissance man for our time, Gary Conway (born Gareth Monello Carmody) was the youngest artist to win a major prize at the LA County Art Exhibition and, before age sixteen, was awarded full scholarships to the three most prestigious art schools in the country. Graduating from UCLA, he not only dedicated himself to fine art as a life long pursuit, but also went on to become an accomplished violinist who has appeared at the Hollywood Bowl, and an architect whose work has been featured in Design West.
His remarkable talents expanded to include TV star, and it was in television where he became an instant worldwide celebrity, first with a starring role in the TV series Burke's Law. While on this classic series he had the rare opportunity to work with a grand array of legendary stars of the silver screen, from Mary Astor, to Bette Davis, to Gloria Swanson, to ZaZu Pitts.
He followed Burke’s Law with Land of the Giants, considered one of the most successful programs ever produced on a worldwide basis. Today, many years after its initial release on television, there are highly active clubs and societies around the world devoted to Gary and the series on a full time basis. His show has been seen in every nook and cranny that possesses a television set. Land of the Giants was the number one show recently on Channel Four in England. Gary participated in a satellite special on Channel Four commemorating the series’ incredible accomplishment and fan following.
Besides starring in series and a multitude of episodic television shows and pilots, he starred in many motion pictures. He had leading roles and even production credits in The Farmer, Black Gunn, Once is Not Enough, to name a few.
Gary also became very successful as a screenwriter and wrote the scripts for such popular films as Over the Top, as well as the highly successful American Ninja series. He also originated films scripts for such stars as Laurence Harvey, Catherine Dueneve and Eddie Murphy.
While active in television and motion pictures, centered mostly in Hollywood, Gary discovered and fell in love with a broken down ranch on 320 acres in the Central Coast of California. Gary first beheld the idyllic beauty of the area aboard a helicopter moments before it crashed. Emerging from the wreckage, Gary exclaimed to the still stunned real estate broker, “I'm going to buy this place!” This is the stuff of legends; and, indeed, in the ensuing years the vineyard and its supersoils and textbook microclimates are fast becoming legendary by way of Carmody McKnight Estate Wines.
Adding to the legend of the land, the vineyard was chosen as the most endowed in the world and the subject of an extraordinary joint effort between John Deere, Motorola, Earth Information Technologies, and Cal Poly University with support from the State of California due to the rarity of the soils derived from calcareous shale, limestone, and igneous (volcanic) rocks as well as montmorillonite -- "the wonder soil." No other vineyard in the world possess all of these renowned soil types and in such abundance.
As a result, three of Carmody McKnight wines, in combination to create the “Cadenza” Meritage, won against all California wines in the most prestigious of competitions – the California State Fair Wine Competition. The winery itself was voted number one on the Central Coast. It is an astonishing fact that in the twenty-year history of the vineyard there has never been the necessity to fertilize, yet the wine, as analyzed in the extensive Cal Poly University study, has been found to be the most mineral and nutrient rich in the world.
The story of Gary’s odyssey with the land, Art of the Vineyard, has been published by the prestigious Journey Editions of the Charles E. Tuttle Company. Besides authoring Art of the Vineyard, the book includes over a hundred of Gary's brilliant landscapes which are indicative of his outstanding reputation as an artist. Art of the Vineyard has received overwhelming praise from all quarters of the country. Connie Martinson on her television show Let's Talk Books, said, " Gary 's Art of the Vineyard would be a wonderful book on its own let alone an extraordinary book of art ." In a review in New Times and on PBS, his work was described as "magnificent, exhilarating, vibrating, extraordinary." In the review in Booklist, perhaps the most significant in the publishing industry, his book and its art was referred to as "vivid, nearly neon color palette...the images demonstrate the human capacity to love, desire, create, and persevere...a rendering of Conway's passion."
Gary wrote and directed the film Woman's Story ( http://www.womansstory.com / ) . Woman's Story is already being heralded as: an extraordinary film... a stunning filmmaking achievement... with such artistry that it becomes a genuine work of art. The look of the film is much like a great painting. For Gary the film is indeed an extension of his painting as well as articulating a vital social message. Woman’s Story is in a unique premiere release around the country where not only is the film reaching theatrical audiences usually unable to see such artistic films but also has been raising much-needed funds and awareness for major museums, schools, universities, and other organizations dedicated to the community's welfare. The film and the exciting premiere events – great cuisine and wine dinners and art and wine auctions -- following the screenings have had even the leaders of the communities calling the premiere events "amazing," "a shining moment," "tremendous," "awesome," “fantastic.”
Gary’s current work as a painter is being displayed on both coasts. He is represented in Georgetown, D.C. at the Susan Calloway Gallery ( LINK ). He is considered one of the foremost landscape painters in the U.S. as well as a portrait painter. Gary is developing a television series both network and online which will encompass his vast experience as a Jeffersonian farmer and winemaker. He is also working on his next motion picture project to be filmed on the Central Coast.