“Dukes of Hazzard” actor now working behind camera
By Audrey Clark
Citizen Chronicle Writer
SOUTHBRIDGE — You may recognize this familiar face from “The Dukes of Hazzard,” but Chris Hensel is a man of many talents, performing in musicals, writing music, acting on camera and recently producing his own written films.
“I started off in the choir at church, then I was in the middle school choir. It wasn’t until high school that I started being in the musicals. My music led me to acting,” Hensel said in an interview with The Citizen Chronicle at Sturbridge Coffee Roasters in Southbridge. The veteran actor and his wife moved to Southbridge from the Pocono Mountains about five years ago after the couple’s eldest daughter married and settled in the area. “We wanted to be near the kids and grandkids,” Hensel explained.
When asked some of his most memorable roles and career moments, he said, “My favorite role was probably Jeb Stuart Duke on ‘The Dukes of Hazzard,’ but I also liked Captain California on ‘Kid Super Power Hour.’ I also recorded the songs for that show.” Hensel travels across the country making public appearances and signing autographs at various conventions.
Hensel, who beat throat cancer several years ago, no longer writes or performs songs as Captain California, but does dust off the old pipes every so often. “I sing occasionally now, no solos though.” The actor will turn 60-years-old next week.
He added that his return to singing on stage took place in April 2016 as Southbridge-based Gateway Players Theatre produced the musical “Ellis Island.” Hensel played the immigration station’s chief commissioner.
With such a wide range of acting skills, Hensel said he loves the challenge of performing in live productions, but that performing on television or in a movie is a whole other level. “Stage is thrilling, but film is forever,” he said.
Hensel’s latest project is his new production company, named after his most well-known role as one of the Duke cousins, Jeb Stuart Productions. He is in the process of producing his first movie in a threequel he wrote titled “Salvage Yard ‘Shine’ Boys.” Hensel describes the project as “a wholesome, family film franchise.”
“One of my dreams was to create a character on the stage and then create a film version of it,” Hensel said. “I am not a writer usually, but I want to share my [acting] experience throughout the production of this film.”
Hensel added, “It’s my baby. I wrote it, I’m producing it, and I’m going to sell it. Now I oversee everything which is really freaky.” He hopes to buy a building in Southbridge to produce further films.
“I had a lot of good people I looked up to,” he said when asked about his role models. “Sorrell Booke, who played Boss Hogg on ‘Dukes,’ was the most supportive person on the set. He really took me under his wing, because in this business, there are lots of egos.”
Hensel also gave two pieces of his best advice for aspiring actors: “Number one, learn your craft and be professional. Number two, learn the business. Just remember to be yourself, that’s how you get there — know who you are and focus on what you want to be.”
For more information about Jeb Stuart Productions, visit https://jebstuartproductions.com/. If you are interested in helping reach the goal of financing the “Salvage Yard ‘Shine’ Boys” movie, contact Hensel at firstname.lastname@example.org.