This blog post is well overdue, but I’m back to share some more interesting stories!
Last month I got to meet one of my dad’s childhood friend and a well-known actor/stuntman, Tom Wright.
At first I got a message to my inbox on Facebook from him reaching out to me and introducing himself as Steve James’s long time friend. Of course, I was thrilled to see that he reached out, but we both felt it was a good idea to meet up and get to know each other. Upon meeting him, I got to know a lot my about my dad’s kindheartedness and good humor, which really touched me. Though, I was also really interested in him. As a child, I would always hear stories about Tom from my mom; she always had great things to say about him. Finally when he told me about himself, a lot of missing puzzle pieces came together as I got to hear a couple of stories from him personally. This was another exciting and revealing experience for me, but more importantly, this was really the first time I felt my dad was there smiling with me. My dad and Tom’s relationship was more than just a friendship- they we’re closer to being brothers. As we began talking about my father’s last few days, he didn’t wish to continue too much further especially when the topic of my father’s last partner, Chris Pan, came up. I saw in his eyes that it was a very emotional moment for him so I decided to let it go, but I’m forward to finding out more from him and connecting more dots.
On a final and lighter note! My idea of giving my father a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame 2016 brought that happy big smile right back on his face! 😉 He will be greatly involved and will participate with me to achieve my goal. It feels to know that I have ongoing support on my side, yet I still have more I need to accomplish! One step at a time, though.
Once more, to whoever is taking an interest in the story of my (updated) life- I appreciate you 🙂
Hello! My name is Debbi James.
Although my story hasn’t sailed the smoothest it could’ve, I can say without hesitation that my hindrances won’t stop me from moving forward. I want to say that I appreciate anyone who takes the time to read about my struggles, my life, and my current search. Simply the fact that I have people supporting me is enough to keep me going.
Here’s my story:
During the late 80’s, my father was an iconic actor who starred in American Ninja 1, 2, 3 and 4, along with Delta Force, I’m gonna get you, sucka!, Live and die in LA, etc. He met my mother, Nava Halimi during the filming of Delta Force, which was filmed in Israel. They caught each other’s glimpses for the first time at the Hilton hotel gym in Tel-Aviv (which probably explains why I like to work out). It didn’t take that long for my father to fall in love with my mother and bring her back to Los Angeles, where he snuck her a role in the film American Ninja 2. Shortly after the movie was finished, they got married and had me.
I was born in Paris, France in 1988, where my mother faced racism from the nurses because she was Jewish. Considering that the nurses refused to help her amidst the delivery, we almost died; luckily, my grandma is a certified nurse and is fluent in French so she was able to take further control of the situation and helped save our lives. We then flew back to Los Angeles where my dad, my mom and I lived together in a sweet home in Hollywood. After two years, my mom decided to fly back to Israel and raise me there. I was separated from my father for 3 years and during that time he got remarried to a woman named Chris Pan who was with him for a year and a half until he passed away from Pancreatic cancer.
Growing up I never understood what it meant to have a father, however my mom always made sure to make the experience as easy as it could be for me so I could grow up peacefully. I was always being made fun of at school by the other kids because of my big afro and my darker skin tone. I was looked at as unusual and different, which put me in a lot of pain. I didn’t know how to identify myself and a part of me understanding who I am was missing, inevitably because of my father being gone. As a young teenager living in Israel, I didn’t know how to properly look into the history of my dad.
My teenage years got brighter for me as I started to grow comfortable in my skin. However, when I was 17 my mother passed away. That’s when I decided to take a leap of faith and move to Los Angeles, where my uncle sheltered me until I got back on my feet as a lone soldier.
Now, I am creating music, creating a name for myself, and I need to reconnect with my heritage and inherit my share of what was left from my daddy.
I’ve been here for 9 years already. Trying to get a hold of Chris Pan, my father’s last wife, has been a difficult process. I’ve only met her once and since I began asking her questions about if my father left anything for me before he passed away, she started to ignore me. After all, I am his only child. I’ve been trying repeatedly to talk to her and I finally got a response. I got complaints. I got complaints over how much money she spent on my father. I got complaints over her wanting to be paid back in return for putting his residuals on my name. He passed away 20 years ago and I am receiving complaints over his medical money. I need HELP.
This isn’t fair. I need to get what was left from my father that should’ve been passed to me. I’m even allowed to visit the house my father spent his last days in.
Now, I take my next steps.
I reconnected with more of my lost family on his side. I found connections that were missing my entire life. Finally, I feel like I’m understanding where I belonged.
PLEASE spread the word!! I will be posting more updates through the rest of my process 🙂
Thank you for reading ~