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Thursday, January 13, 2005



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COURTESY JASON OLIVE
Former UH volleyball star Jason Olive graduated from modeling to television and is starring with former "Friends" star Lisa Kudrow in the HBO series "The Comeback." Olive is back in town to play in the UH alumni game tomorrow night.




HBOhhhhh!

Former UH volleyball star
Jason Olive has a recurring part
on Lisa Kudrow's new TV
series, "The Comeback"

When Jason Olive returns to the Stan Sheriff Center for the University of Hawaii alumni game tomorrow, his volleyball skills could be a little rusty. Olive, who had a successful modeling career while he was a star player for the University of Hawaii from 1990 to '95, has been happily distracted by his acting career.

The UH Warriors
Alumni Match

Place: Stan Sheriff Center
Time: All-alumni match, 4:30 p.m.; varsity vs. alumni, 7 p.m.
Admission: $6 for lower level; $4 for upper level for adults, and $3 upper level for seniors and students
Call: 956-4482
Notes: A total of 36 players have signed up to play. The oldest is Manny Relator (1958-59). Current student assistant Jake Muise and Kimo Tuyay from the 2004 squad are the newcomers to the group. The alumni list also include Mike Among (1986-89), Sivan Leoni (1995-98), Jason Olive (1992-95), Victor Poppinga (1994-88), Costas Theocharidis (2000-03), Rick Tune (1995-97), and Aaron Wilton (1994-97).

The man who helped lead the '95 team to its first trip to the final four says time away from the game has taken its toll, and despite his other successes, any diminished abilities on the court still sting: "When you're really good at something, it's hard to realize you're not the best guy on the court. I've never been not good. I've never been the last pick for a volleyball team."

But, he's quick to add, "It's good to be humbled every now and again."

Olive played on a UH team that was as famous for its enthusiastic fan base as its volleyball abilities. (In the interest of full disclosure, your reporter was one of those fans and spent many a night at the Stan Sheriff Center, hopped up on Mountain Dew and Gordon Biersch garlic fries, screaming with the rest of the crowd.)

Olive still models occasionally, but the career that took him around the world no longer inspires him.

"One reason why I kinda dropped out of the whole fashion circle was because I was with people who were doing what they wanted to, and I felt very much like a visitor in their world, which is great, but it's not what I wanted to do. So I had to drop out and start doing what I wanted to do."

OLIVE, NOW 32, returned to volleyball last year, squeezing in games between auditions in Los Angeles. His days back on the volleyball court could be numbered because he might have hit the acting jackpot: a recurring role in the new Lisa Kudrow series, "The Comeback."

The HBO series, which is already receiving good buzz in the Hollywood trades, has been picked up for 14 episodes.

"The Comeback" is Kudrow's first post-"Friends" project. She stars as a former sitcom actress trying to return to television; Olive plays an actor in her disastrous new show. "The Comeback" has another thing going for it: "Sex and the City" producer Michael Patrick King is at the helm, along with Kudrow.

Olive is philosophical about the show's prospects: "There were so many times that I thought a project I was involved in was going to be a really big break for me and it didn't turn out that way, to the point where I just enjoy it. It's more of, I guess, a Zen-type philosophy. I'm just really enjoying my time when I'm there. What I'm really looking forward to with this project is learning from Lisa and learning from Michael. Just to be in a position to work with these people ... to learn from them, it's incredible."

Olive also just signed up for a role in a new independent movie written by and starring Margaret Cho, the acerbic Korean stand-up comedian.

When he's not acting, Olive is permanently attached to his cell phone, carving out a career that combines his many interests. "I didn't want a 9-to-5 job," Olive says, explaining why he's pursuing so many things at once. "But then I figured out I really have a 7-to-12 job."

THE MAR VISTA, Calif., home Olive shares with his fiancee, Kandi, is filled with some of the treasures picked up during his modeling years. The Indian bookshelves are overflowing with volumes on art, philosophy and religion, and a glass-covered coffee table displays currency notes from around the world. Some of the furniture was bought in New York, back when Olive had a starring role on "All My Children."

Behind the house, he has converted a storage room into a yoga and photography studio. But Olive isn't conforming to any Hollywood hipster stereotypes, and he appears a little too thoughtful be featured on, say, MTV's "Cribs."

He is much more interested in talking about his garden than his hot tub, and he proudly shows off the jasmine plants he's trellising. Then there's the mulch he's found that smells of cocoa. The entire garden has a pleasant chocolate smell as we pad around barefoot in the cool L.A. evening.

Back at the door to the main house, a "Mahalo for taking off your shoes" plaque greets visitors, and, fresh from the garden tour, the reporter proceeds to trample chocolate-smelling mulch all over Olive's hardwood floors. He doesn't seem to mind, and he doesn't become irritated when the clumsy reporter topples part of his bookcase as she reaches for a University of Hawaii license plate holder.

If Olive's "Renaissance man" leanings weren't immediately evident during the house tour, his busy home office would tell the story. Paintings, books, scripts, modeling pictures and athletic gear compete for space with the computer and telephone. When not fielding business calls, he uses the office to plan his annual charity volleyball tournament. The tournament has already been played in California and New York, and he wants to bring it to Hawaii one day.

Personal convictions are also influencing Olive's career path. As an athlete and a vegetarian, he's interested in nutrition and wellness. While in Hawaii for the volleyball tournament, he hopes to meet with Dr. John Westerdahl of Castle Wellness and Lifestyle Medicine Center.

"That whole center is just cutting-edge," Olive said. "It's the only center that I know of that has the size and scope of a full-fledged medical facility that's dedicated to the wellness industry rather than the sickness industry."

Olive might even host a new wellness show for Westerdahl. But the L.A. day has turned to night, and the reporter fears if she stays much longer, she might break something valuable. Besides, Olive must get to the gym before it gets too late and his day starts over again.

And with that, the former UH volleyball star gives his fan a hug and rushes back inside to answer his cell phone.



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