Being an actor is hard. It is fraught with rejection, failure, insecurity and envy. Just ask John Lithgow. “It is a profession that is very hard on your ego,” he told a small group of UC San Diego master of fine arts in acting students during a visit to the campus last week. Even worse, he said with comic theatricalism, is the “humiliation of being rejected by people you have contempt for,” a well-rehearsed line that garnered laughs from the students. Still, he admitted, “I fret all the time.” It seems like an odd confession from an actor whose career has spanned decades and been marked by numerous accolades and awards, including his recent Emmy for his role as Winston Churchill in the Netflix series “The Crown.”
A few weeks ago, Stefan Savage, a UC San Diego computer science professor started receiving calls on a daily basis—sometimes more than once a day—from a phone number with a Chicago area code. The caller didn’t leave a voicemail. Savage never answers calls from a number he doesn’t recognize. He is a security researcher and at least one of his collaborators has been targeted by cybercriminals. So he looked up the phone number. To his relief, it tracked back to the MacArthur Foundation’s headquarters in Chicago.