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Son of Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History

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First there was Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History. It was a thin but readable study of character actors from cinema’s Golden Age. Now, author Manny Pacheco gives us more of the same in his sequel treatise, Son of Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History. The names are (slightly) different but the premise is the same. Pacheco lets us in on the stories behind the familiar faces of actors and actresses we’ve seen on the silver screen over the years but may not have known their names – much less the lowdown on their lives.


For example, do you recall the actress Marjorie Main? She rose to Tinseltown prominence playing Ma Kettle in nearly a dozen Ma and Pa Kettle movies – winning an Oscar nomination for her first turn as Ma in 1947’s "The Egg and I", opposite Freed MacMurray and Claudette Colbert. Unfortunately for her, Main suffered from what today we would likely call obsessive-compulsive disorder to the point that her fixation with cleanliness would often be disrupting to the filmmaking process due to Main’s refusal to touch others or objects.  Sadly, Main’s obsession with being in a sterile environment, in order to avoid contact with germs, eventually ended her long and honored Hollywood career.


Chapter One is titled "Fat Man and Little Boy", and it spotlights both Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre. Interestingly, Greenstreet – who is best recalled as the plus-size thespian who played against Humphrey Bogart in The Maltese Falcon and Casablanca – didn’t began his cinematic career until he was 62 years old, and it was over within eight years. Although Greenstreet and the diminutive Lorre (whose filmography and movie-land legend has arguably been more enduring than his counterpart’s) never had a scene together in the movies, Pacheco affectionately and accurately describes the two actors as “motion pictures’ first ‘odd couple.’” After all, movie fans still pair Greenstreet and Lorre in their collective celluloid remembrances.

In fifteen chapters and 161 densely written pages, Pacheco introduces (or reintroduces) us to a full community of twentieth century character actors, including Frank Morgan – who ended up playing The Wizard in the classic The Wizared of Oz only after the inimitable and often inebriated W.C. Fields turned down the role. Then there is Andy Devine – whose gravelly voice and gentle disposition made him a filmmaker’s favorite. Also included is the elegant Gilbert Roland, whose handsome visage graced such films as The Seahawk, with Errol Flynn, and The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima, about the purported appearance of the Virgin Mary before three Portuguese children.

One of Pacheco’s stated goals of writing each edition of Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History is to intertwine actual history lessons with the true tales of these stalwart support players. For instance, we learn that S.Z. Sakall – who so memorably played, Carl, the head waiter at Rick’s Café in Casablanca –was himself a Hungarian refugee who fled to America in 1939 to elude the Nazi takeover of his home continent. Also, it is instructive and enlightening to see a vintage (1944) photo of the swarthy Cesar Romero all decked out in his real life U.S. Navy uniform (Romero may be best remembered as the original Joker on television’s Batman series).

While Son of Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History is primarily aimed at fans of film, aficionados of fine acting, and history and trivia buffs, it also makes for good use as a reference guide or as a fun, pass-the-time reader. Forgotten Hollywood… is available at bookstores, virtual and otherwise. For further information, visit



Laguna Playhouse Announces Ellen Richard as its Interim Executive Director

May 3, 2016…Laguna Beach, Calif…Laguna Playhouse Board of Directors announced today that, later this month, Ellen Richard will be joining Laguna Playhouse as its Interim Executive Director. The Playhouse announced late last year that it was undertaking a national search guided by Arts Consulting Group (ACG) for an Executive Director to succeed Karen Wood who had held this position for the past eight years.

Commenting on the appointment Joe Hanauer and Paul Singarella, Co-Chairmens of the Board of Directors, said “In the midst of our search we encountered this wonderful opportunity to engage Ellen while we continue to seek appropriate long-term leadership. To have found someone with the extraordinary qualifications that Ellen has is thrilling. She is the recipient of six Tony Awards as producer at New York’s Roundabout Theatre Company where she was Managing Director. Ellen also has strong successes in supervising the construction of theatres in New York and also in San Francisco at the American Conservatory Theater, a rare and valuable skill set considering the contemplated major remodel and expansion of the Laguna Playhouse.” Laguna Playhouse Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham adds, “We are pleased and proud to have Ellen Richard, truly a rock-star in our field, join us as our interim Executive Director who will help guide the Playhouse during this transition.” Comments Ellen Richard, “I have quickly grown fond of Laguna Beach and the Playhouse. I embrace this extraordinary opportunity to join one of the country’s top regional theatres at this time in its remarkable 95-year history. I look forward to helping the Playhouse and working with their incredible Board of Trustees and Ann E. Wareham.”


Ellen Richard served as Executive Director of the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco from 2010 through 2015.  During her tenure, Ms. Richard negotiated a deal to buy the Strand Theater in tech corridor of Mid-Market San Francisco, helped raise the $34,000 million to renovate and operate it and steered the design and construction for the project which opened in May of 2015. The complex featured two performance spaces and has won multiple awards.  She opened the 50 seat Costume Shop Theater, a 49-seat “black box” venue used for the company’s Master of Fine Arts students and for shows by other local companies.  Ms. Richard was also credited with expanding the company’s educational efforts, coming up with programs like the San Francisco Semester, which brings undergraduate acting students to ACT from around the world, and Stage Coach, a community theater mobile unit that reaches into diverse neighborhoods

She was also Executive Director of The Second Stage Theatre in New York City. During her tenure at Second Stage, which began in 2006 (through 2009), she was responsible for the purchase contract of the Helen Hayes Theatre, growth in subscription income of 48 percent, and growth in individual giving of 75 percent, as well as conceptualization of a highly successful gala format and “Second Generation,” a giving program through which donors enable deserving New York City youth to experience live theater. Under Ms. Richard’s leadership, Second Stage provided the initial home for the Broadway productions Everyday Rapture, Next to Normal, and The Little Dog Laughed.

From 1983 to 2005, Ms. Richard enjoyed a rich and varied career with Roundabout Theatre Company. The Roundabout that Ms. Richard joined was a small nonprofit theater company in bankruptcy. By the time she departed as Managing Director, Roundabout had become one of the country’s largest and most successful theater companies of its kind, with net assets in excess of $67 million dollars. Ms. Richard is the recipient of six Tony Awards as producer, for Roundabout productions of Cabaret (1998), A View from the Bridge (1998), Side Man (1999), Nine (2003), Assassins (2004), and Glengarry Glen Ross (2005). As producer of more than 125 shows at Roundabout, she had direct supervision of all management and marketing functions. She created Roundabout’s “Theatre-PLUS” programs, which include singles, teachers, family, gay and lesbian, wine tasting, and the 7 p.m. “Early Curtain” series, all of which grew to represent more than 10 percent of Roundabout’s 40,000 subscribers.

As director of design and construction at Roundabout, Ms. Richard was responsible for more than $50 million of theater construction for 11 projects. She conceptualized the three permanent Roundabout stages — The Broadway venues of Studio 54 and the American Airlines Theatre, and the Off-Broadway venue The Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre She directed the location search for Cabaret and oversaw the creation of the production’s environmental Kit Kat Klub. Prior to her tenure at Roundabout, Ms. Richard served as business manager of Westport Country Playhouse, theater manager for Stamford Center for the Arts, and business manager for Atlas Scenic Studio. She began her career working as a stagehand, sound designer, and scenic artist assistant.