Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Ceremony of Thanks: UCLA's Donated Body Program

Friday the 17th of May was a day to remember --
Flowers and their messages two days later

Marjorie Henshaw had her freshman year at UCLA and as a dancing California Coed was featured on the cover of Life Magazine in December 1939.  It was fitting then that she went to UCLA for science with UCLAs Donated Body Program (  Each year the first year medical school students of the David Geffen School of Medicine create an event to honor and thank the families and friends of donors.  It was an amazing event.

The 165 students of the first year who all take the anatomy class were in attendance.  They all write notes on a special card with their thoughts on it.  Each as tied with a bow to a stem of a mum and handed to the attendants.  The program was poignant with formal presentations by the Vice Chancellor and the Director of Anatomy as well as student compositions and reflections interspersed with musical selections demonstrating the wide talent of the medical students.

After the ceremony there was a reception.  I had a chance to talk with several of the medical students, reflecting on their experiences and my thoughts on their chosen career. I found the students serious, humane  and curious.  They were looking into medicine form a deep sense of humanity and with a great feeing of hope. They all expressed in simple and more complex ways thier appreciation for the donation.  I was impressed. Their's is a challenging path.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

ANABEL SHAW ~ Intellectual Beauty       by Colin Briggs c. 1998

Anabel Shaw was born Marjorie Henshaw on June 24, (not June 7 as usually reported) 1921 in Oakland, California. A gray eyed ash blond she was the second daughter of Ransom Henshaw, a real estate broker, and Eleanor Earl Henshaw. After grammar school she was educated at the private Marlborough School for Girls. Even then her thoughts were on dramatics, but the Marlborough School frowned on any of its young charges who thought of acting as a possible profession. For well brought up young ladies of the time, drama was respectable only in an amateur or academic setting. At first her parents and older sister Jane objected too. With a blue blood lineage that included her grandfather, Guy Chaffee Earl, who was a prominent attorney, State Senator and Regent of the University of California, she was a top drawer debutante when she made her debut in Los Angeles.

Despite the fact that Los Angeles high society families of the time were distinctly aloof from Hollywood, Marjorie committed herself to a film career. After a brief stint at Warner Bros., where she tested with every new male hopeful, but did no acting herself, Anabel was dropped. "Of course, I was bitterly disappointed," she recalled, "for I had been so repeatedly optimistic that tomorrow would be my lucky day to be called in for some actual work before the camera. So, in the meantime I enrolled in dramatics. Then my parents visited San Francisco and while there I enrolled at the University of California at Berkeley, graduating with a B.A. degree and ma

joring in short story writing. It was a wonderful experience attending that university as both my parents were alumni and it was a sentimental thrill to follow in their footsteps."

The agent who had arranged her test at Warner Bros. showed it to Paramount who signed her in 1944. After one role in Here Comes the Waves with Bing Crosby and Betty Hutton, she was again idle. "There were a lot of Paramount starlets in that motion picture - Ruth Roman, Noel Neill, Yvonne de Carlo, Mona Freeman and the beautiful Catherine Craig, so apart from Betty Hutton, who played two roles, no one else had much chance to stand out. Another six months went by, and time and again I'd 'almost' have a film role," she related.

Tired of hanging around uselessly Anabel asked for and received her release. Her agent came to the rescue once again and secured a contract for her at 20th Century-Fox. She'd only made that one test and her agent was continually peddling it around all the studios. "I hesitated briefly before signing, but then I thought - why not take another chance? Perhaps it's a case of third time lucky."

By this time, Anabel had loads of little theater experience and her excellent diction made her a casting certainty for English drawing room comedies. "They were so much the rage back then and I especially enjoyed acting in Tony Draws a Horse, but no Hollywood talent scout ever appeared. In 1942 I did a show for the Assistance Leagues' Nine O'clock Players. Aftercurtain, a Warner Bros. talent scout did appear and asked, 'Would you like to make a screen test?' I felt like embracing him and exclaiming, 'At long last here you are!' But although nothing much happened in my six months at Warners I will always be grateful for all the studio training in dramatics, singing and dancing."

With similar bone structure and coloring to the promising Warner star, Alexis Smith, Anabel must have been at a disadvantage. Miss Smith had already established herself and the studio didn't need another actress like her. The major difference between the two beauties was height. Alexis looked impressive on screen, being a willow 5' 9" while Anabel was a medium 5' 5". It came to pass that Anabel's contract was allowed to lapse.

Over at Fox they wasted no time in using her. Along with some other Fox contractees, she was tested for the film Shock. With herlarge expressive eyes, often compared to those of Bette Davis, she won the role of a woman traumatized by witnessing a murder. The film starred Vincent Price and Lynn Bari, who were both helpful to the newcomer. Of Lynn Bari she said, "I did two pictures with her and she couldn't have been nicer, and totally free of jealousy. One day on the set Lynn mentioned she was a direct descendent of Alexander Hamilton who was in George Washington's cabinet as the first Secretary of the Treasury. Lynn revealed that her great-great-great aunt, Margaret Schuyler, was married to Mr Hamilton and that Lynn's own mother was named after her. 'Oh, no,' I said in amazement, 'my great-great-great Uncle was Aaron Burr, the man who killed Hamilton in a duel.'"

Frank Latimore played her husband in the film and he was being tested for a role in The Razor's Edge which he succeeded in getting. Many actresses were mentioned to portray Sophie in the film, from Judy Garland to Alice Faye. Susan Hayward, who was not under contract at Fox at that time was among a number of Fox starlets including Anne Baxter and Anabel who tested. Richard Sisson was the young actor given the task of playing opposite all the aspirants. He recalled that Susan Hayward's test was not good and that Anne Baxter and Anabe

l were probably the best. Anabel herself told me that she felt the very best acting she ever did on screen was that test for The Razor's Edge. Fox executives and the director were very excited about her histrionics, and for a short time it appeared that she had snagged the role. Zanuck had the final say and congratulated her, but said they'd decided to have another name above the title, which resulted in Anne Baxter getting the role and subsequently winning a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award.

In the meantime Shock was released and

"Picture Show" magazine described it as a "gripping thriller with fine direction and good acting." Time magazine noted: "Nothing so apparently fascinates Hollywood as the unsettled mind, especially when it inhabits a beautiful body (Anabel Shaw)." Indeed, Anabel displays a terrific range, showing fear, hysteria and total collapse, all in the first half of the movie.

Home Sweet Homicide, her next Fox release, gave her the glamour role of a Hollywood star. When the wife of her lover (Sheppard Strudwick) is murdered, they are both suspects. This delightful comedy features Peggy Ann Garner, Dean Stockwell and Connie Marshall as the children of a mystery writer, Lynn Bari. Randolph Scott as a

police detective is the leading man, but it's the kids who solve the murder and steal the movie.

Anabel made her Technicolor debut in a promotional film, shot at San Bernardino. Take It or Leave It also featured Wally Brown, Don Beddoe, Spike Jones and Donald McBride. The movie was made for Coca Cola, to be used for personnel training.

Fox then put her in the Technicolor hit Mother Wore Tights.Anabel said of this film, "Vanessa Brown and I played the school friends of B

etty Grable and we had a lot of fun in an opening song and dance sequence. Our other scene had us play prudes when Betty Grable tries out for a stage show and William Frawley asks us to show our legs. Betty was nice, and Vanessa and I became friends. Ironically 40 odd years later we met again at a TV commercial try out

." Anabel continued, "The Hollywood of the 1940s was really as exciting as it all seemed to outsiders. On the Fox lot if I needed a certain type of shoe, they sent me to their cobbler who made them."

For some contractees of the major studio

s there were other benefits, too. For years Anabel received large supplies of Lux soap, so that the company could advertise that she used it. Her actual pay wasn't bad either. Anabel's salary was luxurious at that time - $300 per week.

Strange Triangle offered Anabel probably her lengthiest screen role at Fox. Once again cast opposite Sheppard Strudwick she is a loyal bank employee who suspects he is embezzling funds. Preston Foster played the investigator with Signe Hasso as the unscrupulous adventuress married to Strudwick. While Picture Show called it "rather a slow moving melodrama," Film Review described it as a "Suspense movie with actionful, gun toting climax."

When option time came up at Fox her contract was not renewed. Producer Sol M. Wurtzel, whose product was released by

Fox, liked her work and signed her for Dangerous Years. Another contractee, Marilyn Monroe, had a small role in this well directed juvenile delinquency drama. Anabel had a showy role as the supposed daughter of the district attorney (Richard Gaines) who is trying to convict a young man (William Halop) on a murder charge. Because he is trying to protect Anabel by not revealing her past, the youth faces conviction.

Freelancing now, Anabel moved over to Columbia for Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back (1947). Ron Randell was the famous sleuth in this episode. Picture Show said of this one, "the whole film goes with a swing as Randell solves the puzzle of two charming girls who claim a rich inheritance, through which a Scotland Yard Inspector is murdered". Gloria Henry was the other applicant and both Anabel and she were enigmatic enough to keep viewers guessing which was the phony heir until the conclusion.

Producer Jack Wrather hired Anabel next to play a newspaper woman in High Tide (1948). With a clever screenplay by Robert Presnell Sr. and a strong cast headed by Lee Tracy, Don Castle and Julie Bishop, it held quite a lot suspense and surprises. Picture Show praised it: "The story, told in flashback is excellently acted and competently directed." Anabel provided the love interest with Don Castle. Jul

ie Bishop played the alcoholic wife of the murdered editor, who also has a yen for Castle.

Anabel really enjoyed working with director Fritz Lang when she made Secret Beyond the Door at Universal. In the relatively small role of a society girl whose various queries unhinge the disturbed Michael Redgrave, she makes her presence felt.

P.R.C. then employed her services for Killer at Large which "Film Review" described as, "yet another ace reporter uncovers another racket." Robert Lowery was the reporter and Anabel, looking her most attractive, was the heroine who happens to be daughter of the prime suspect. Staying on at P.R.C. she made In This Corner starring her opposite Scott Brady. The finished film became a 1948 Eagle Lion release.

Always an academic, Anabel was never part of the Hollywood dating scene. She was invited to glamorous parties, however, and appeared on the covers of "Life" and "This Week" the newspaper magazine.

On December 11, 1948 she married Joseph Ford, a professor of sociology. This more or less put her career on hold. Before she began to travel the world with her brilliant husband, three of her films were released in 1949.

Hold That Baby a Bowery Boys comedy gave her a rare chance to be a glamorous mother. Boisterous as ever, Leo Gorcey, Huntz Hall and gang get mixed up with a baby in a kidnap plot and have to deal with a rival gang.

City Across the River (1949) had a ground breaking freshness with its plot on delinquency, violence, and sexual behavior. It also gave a rare chance for Stephen McNally to play a warm and likable character. Anabel portrayed his supportive and sympathetic wife.

Her final 1949 release was the classic Gun Crazy starring John Dall and Peggy Cummins as two criminals in the Bonnie and Clyde mold. Deglamorised here, Anabel does fine work as Dall's sister whom the two fugitives try to use.

There then followed a six-year hiatus in her film career. "This was a tremendously successful time for Hollywood and the agents were just bringing in the money," Anabel recalled. "I had signed with the biggest talent agency, but they were more concerned with their big stars than developing projects for a promising new actress. Where I slipped up was in not managing my career, because I was naive. I was afraid to knock on the right doors but would have done so, if someone had advised me to. I don't think I ever really wanted to quit film making but my husband's job in urban sociology had us live in Rome, also Beirut, Madrid, Mexico City and Vienna for some years. Our family grew to include my daughters Anabel [an archeologist], Cecelia [a professor in linguistics] and my son Stephen [education technology and industrial design]. By the time I returned to California in the mid 1950s, acting jobs were harder to find."

After her return, Walter Wanger cast Anabel in Riot in Cell Block 11. Made with an almost all-male cast the stark documentary-like feature was well received. Prior to release, all of Anabel's scenes as a worried wife on the telephone were cut. "I guess the continual interruptions my scenes created, destroyed the building tension," she commented.

In 1955 Universal used her in a wife role in Six Bridges to Cross, starring Tony Curtis. "My brief scene went well and they called me back for an additional one. This was to explain Tony Curtis' motivation for choosing a life of crime," she recalled.

Audie Murphy was America's most decorated hero of World War II and his experiences inspired the film To Hell and Back which became a big hit for Universal. Anabel had one memorable scene when Murphy is in the hospital recovering from wounds and is visited by one of his buddies (Jack Kelly). Playing a nurse in an Army hospital she gives her lines plenty of bite. Kelly refers to her as "Sir" throughout their exchanges and she neatly displays a sense of humor.

At Gunpoint, a widescreen color Western, was her final film in this second phase of her career. Once again, drawing on her ability to portray mounting fear and hysteria, she was cast as the wife of Whit Bissell and the mother of two small children. In a plot resembling that of High Noon Fred MacMurray is the man who finally defends the town from a bunch of outlaws.

Anabel also made TV commercials and guested on TV shows such as Alfred Hitchcock Presents, in a 1957 episode titled, "The Deadly". One career move she rejected was replacing Jan Clayton in the popular Lassie TV series. "There were a couple of conditions attached to my getting the part but the length of time involved and early shooting start, had me decline the role. I realized if the show continued its long run, my children would suffer from my absence."

With her intellectual interests still strong, she kept busy taking university level courses, and occasionally did some theater, including State of the Union. Years later, out of the blue, an offer came from Fox to play a nurse in their horror film The Mephisto Waltz (1970). She accepted the role and joined Curt Jurgens, Bradford Dillman and Alan Alda. Despite the talented cast, this shocker was not too well received.

My first meeting with Anabel was at her home in Northridge, California where I was welcomed warmly by both Anabel and her husband Joe Ford. She was youthfully delightful and those "Bette Davis" eyes were as full of sparkle as in her halcyon days. Busy as ever, she was working on a book, as was her husband.

In 1977, her eldest daughter Anabel helped organize an Anabel Shaw Film Festival. Sponsored by The Graduate Student Association the three-day event was held at the University of California (Santa Barbara). Introduced at the three sessions by Richard Proctor, Anabel also had radio interviews and lots of press coverage. Scott Brady and Vincent Price and other unannounced stars made the trip to appear. The films shown as part of film noir program were Shock with Secret Beyond the Door, then a week later Killer at Large and In This Corner and finally Gun Crazy with Strange Triangle the following week.

A surprise communication in 1986 had Anabel tell me she was "delighted to be playing the zany neighbor in A Majority of One, and it's marvelous fun". Reading on, "By the way not so much fun is that Joe and I are in a divorce proceeding. Wow! So, lots of drama in my life".

More surprising news came with the revelation that she was marrying George Scopecek, a wealthy businessman living in Oakland, California. They had known each other years and years before. This was a mostly joyous time for Anabel as she had a beautiful home and had reactivated her theatrical interests. She referred to her husband as "Hap" and such was his love and devotion that he even played a tiny role in one of her plays. This was Murdered Alive and although she thought the play "silly" woman the audiences loved it.

One role she did enjoy was in Fools Paradise (1992). "I played the zaniest Jane and had a great time. The audience thought so too and I wowed 'em. A blazing success, and in a play where I had the best time of my life."

A tragedy occurred when their home, along with 3000 others, was destroyed in a massive fire on October 20, 1991. They moved to an apartment in Alameda where tragedy struck again with her husband's death on April 20, 1992. She wrote, "With all these vicissitudes life has been black and bleak, for "Hap" was a dear man and independent to the last".

Her daughter Anabel and her husband Mike resided in Santa Barbara, so Anabel senior bought a home there, where she resides today. Her son Steve and his wife Linda have also moved there and have happily made Anabel a grandmother with their daughter, Elle.

Still on her agenda is a book about her travels and the challenges of raising of a family in so many different countries. Blessed with good health, she continues to amaze with an itinerary that would tire a woman half her age. Constantly traveling within the U.S. and abroad her endless vitality is probably due to her ever eager sense of discovery. Seeking knowledge has been a lifelong quest for Anabel Shaw, and it has helped keep her young.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Marjorie Henshaw Retrospective

24 June 1921 – 16 April 2010

Marjorie Henshaw, actress and writer, died on 16 April 2010 after a valiant effort to keep Triple Negative Breast cancer at bay. A long time Los Angeleno, and born Marjorie Henshaw, part of long established line of Californians, she graduated from Cal in 1943 and went into a vibrant career in acting before marrying and beginning an academic life and family. Throughout her years, she transformed adversity with a positive attitude and always stayed in the moment.

With deep California roots, Marjorie’s childhood centered in Los Angeles of the 20s and 30s. Her family was on the forefront of these developments involved with lumber (her mother’s grandfather founded Mendocino), land (her father’s grandfather owned major holdings in the Owens Valley), and water (her mother’s father established Lake Almanor now at the head waters of the Feather River project that delivers water to southern California). She graduated from Marlborough High School, was a debutante of the Mary Duque Guild, said she knew nothing of the depression, and was listed in the Blue Book.

With Hollywood screen tests, photo shoots, and an option with Warner Brothers, she was represented by the famous William Morris Agency. Marjorie Henshaw was billed as Anabel Shaw for her acting career. She landed a contract with Fox where she was impressed with the glamor of the sets, the extent of the city within the city, and the commissary meeting place for the stars. Her films, now best classed as Film Noir, show a vivid actress with immense talent and love for the screen. Her mother, Elinore Earl Henshaw, was a great support for her in her career move, but her father, Ransom Henshaw, professed that he never saw any of her films.

As Anabel Shaw, she enjoyed acting and played many lead roles. Memorable movies include Shock with Vincent Price, Secret Beyond the Door with Michael Redgrave, In This Corner with Scott Brady, Gun Crazy with Peggy Cummings and John Dall, and Dangerous Years where Marilyn Monroe is not billed but Anabel Shaw is! Our favorite is Killer at Large with Bob Lowery where she steals every scene.

As her film career ascended, Marjorie’s life took a turn and in December 1948 she married. While still acting, this attenuated as she became occupied with her growing family and living abroad. The wife of sociologist Joseph B. Ford, founder of CSUNs Sociology and Anthropology Departments, and mother of three young children Anabel, Cecilia, and Stephen, she was busy making her home.

In this phase of life, Marjorie experienced the “Old World” her mother and grandmother recollected, experiences that she wrote in her book Quintet in Asia Minor (2010). Her rich descriptions of travel in the 50s and 60s were guided by her attachment to Gardener’s Art Through the Ages and Joe’s interest in the far-flung residences of Augustus Comte, the founder of Sociology. In her foreign homes and travels, Margie managed the domestic scene with aplomb. Relishing the experience of Europe and the Middle East, she thrilled at the exposure to ancient cave sites, Roman ruins, medieval cathedrals, and contemporary markets.

While traveling, she was tethered to So. California where she maintained her acting interests. She made occasional appearances on TV and in movies. And remember Lux Soap that the movie stats used? She received a box every month and of course would use it.

As she adjusted to the changing landscape delivered by Joe Ford she provided a stable foundation for the family. She supported her children as the moved into their worlds. But as they went their own ways, Margie was no longer within the quintet she had thrived in. Her facility to live in the moment compelled change. Courageously she struck out on her when she was 64.

Friends and family supported her in this transition. Soon the widow of her first cousin courted her. George-Hap-Skopecek help her start a new phase of her life in Oakland in 1988 when she married. Hap, a man she had know much of her life, idolized for her creative beauty and gave her much pleasure and fun.

Living in Oakland was, in some ways, coming home. Margie rekindled old friendships, became involved in the Oakland Museum, and acted in plays at the Claremont Club. But then there was the fire and the death of Hap. She regrouped and moved to Santa Barbara in 1992.

Santa Barbara was a natural choice, her eldest daughter Anabel was there with her husband Michael Glassow. Her second child, Cecilia lived in Madison with her partner Donna Dallos. Stephen Ford, her third child, made San Diego his home with his wife Linda and two children; Elinore, 10, and Tyler, 5, were Marjorie’s treasured grandchildren.

Her life in Santa Barbara centered around her delightful home on Miradero. She lived singularly and shared her hospitality with old contacts, new friends, and of course her family. As a septuagenarian, Margie spread her wings. She decorated her home in style, got to know her neighbors, and made friend rapidly, easily, and everywhere. She participated in festivities, the symphony, and thematic soirées. She also enjoyed travel and visits with her children. Exploring Michigan and Mendocino with Steve and his family, traveling to Japan and Finland with Ceci, and taking in sights of Ireland and Austria with Anabel and her husband Mike. In short she thrived.

One of a kind Marjorie engaged with all who are genuine and eschewed those who were charlatan. Her spirit was open and cheerful, a model to us all.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Dear Margie ~ Letters She Enjoyed ....

April 8th, 2010
Dear Mom,

You are glowing, sparkling, engaging, exuberant, a beacon of love.
You taught us joy and love, and how to share those blessings with others. You modeled limitless curiosity, an inquisitiveness about all the world. How could we help but grow up sharing your delight in life? You have embraced us all our lives, and with your generous spirit you've embraced the loved ones we brought into our lives and yours: Mike, Linda, Donna, and the young delights of Ellie and Tyler.
Creativity and ingenuity, classiness and down-to-earth know-how. You built our home, and more than just figuratively: You wove the living room curtains on a floor loom, you hand-crafted our beautiful coffee table. You made beautiful ceramics, and built floor-to-ceiling bookcases to create a home where we felt warmed and inspired. So many books, so many parties, so many fascinating conversations! You even transformed our garage into a beautiful dining room, with walls covered by Indian print fabric. We remember Dad insisting, "Margie, you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear!" But you did it! You balked at nothing, and you always made - and still make - us know we are deeply loved.
When we think of our life as a family in the early years, we were regularly on the move. Tethered to California, we traveled far and wide. You gave us our consistency and stability whether in California, Ireland, Iraq, France, or anywhere in between. Your unwavering support and unconditional love was a vital base that quelled the uncertainties our mobile experiences.
We were a motley crew. You gave us the unity that made our travels and travails viable. We truly marvel at how fortunate we have been with you consistently radiating such an imaginative and positive outlook to cheer us on.
You would create, as if by magic, a Halloween costume, an incredible story, a remarkable toy. These were fashioned from the surroundings, an ice cream bin, a piece of newsprint discarded as read, and the imaginative continuing stories about three little chipmunks (named ‘Annie’, ‘Ceci’ and ‘Steve’) and their adventures. We would plead, "Tell us about the chipmunks!" Objects and stories improvised from your mind on the spot.
As we grew up, you became a friend and counsel, a champion of our accomplishments, and a singer of our praise. In our adult years, we came encountered another part of you, there all along: your resilience and your ability to grasp the present and bring the best to the fore. You have a way of weaving through life’s tapestry connecting the most unusual characters. We could pick you up at a train station, only to find you had a new dear friend, some guy who happened to sit next to you in the lobby. This was typical. Gracious with the regal, delighted with the simple, finding gems in life, people and settings everywhere.
Who would imagine such a remarkable friendship as Margret, a kindred spirit in serious walking, whom you introduced yourself to when you saw her out in the early morning moving at a pace that would keep you both going for many years? Who would think you would engage Eric at the farmers' market as you evaluated his orchids for their imperfections? Eric is now a friend, one you happen to visit with over orchids on Saturday mornings! Anywhere you arrive you become a refreshing center, shining your warmth and delight on all around you.
You bring groups together, effortlessly infusing the setting with your empathy, good spirits and whimsy. And your disarming laugh! The laugh that, as children, we used as a homing device when we lost you in a crowd. You are the model of what home means to us. A loving home.
You are our constant. Your voice and encouragement resonate in each of us as we share a love from you with others in our own journeys: With our friends, our loved ones, our students, your grandchildren and, like you ~ even chance encounters with people we may meet for just a day, or a single transaction at a store or a restaurant ~ always better for your example of how to treat others with sincere appreciation for humanity everywhere. That is the ‘Marjorie trademark.’
What a precious, precious gift it is to have you here with us now to hear these words, receive these thoughts, as we celebrate you as the exceptional, remarkable, beautiful, and generous woman we have the honor and blessing to call Mom.

You are our foundation. Our hearts are full of your love now and will be always.

We thank you, Mom.


A Letter of Love for Marjorie ~ Mom

~written in three interwoven voices

by Your Children,

Anabel, Cecilia, Stephen

Casa de Maria, Montecito
April 8th, 2010

Marjorie, dearest old buddy and Game Girl friend,

How we have kicked up our heels and enjoyed every minute of life. I loved the game days with all our friends, but especially the chance to talk with everyone. I’ll never forget that trip together to the Oakland/Bay area.

We don’t kick so high these days, but we do try our best.

With love and kisses,

June Behrens


After my mother, June, introduced us, I enjoyed getting to know you
by way of our Cinema Society movie trips. Through talking about film, your creativity and insight on life experiences have broadened my perspective.

I imagine it’s because you have always smiled at the opportunity to accept the risks in challenges, right along with opportunities. With the discovery of your cancer, you seemed to me to dare yourself toward recovery with a wonderful grace.

Most important, you care about your friends and family. When June was sick in the hospital, you were right there with flowers to visit and cheer her. Your support of Anabel and pride in her goals prove not just love, but an enthusiastic loyalty.
I feel enriched to call you a friend!
Terry Behrens

Dear Margie,

I wish I could be there with you to celebrate your wonderful life. Your travels and always positive way of facing new challenges unfortunately the situation is such that coming to California is not an option. Instead I am in New Zealand thinking how far it is from my
everyday life and how far away from it all I am, for just a few days.

Tomorrow my sisters arrive from far flung parts of the country followed by my youngest brother on Friday, very California as he’ll arrive in time for breakfast! We are here to celebrate just as you are doing, the life of my father. To create happy memories for the
future. I hope that this day does the same for you, happy days for you
to dream of and for others to cherish down the years.

I think of your sunny smile and warm heart, of the meals and the open hospitality in the Miradero house. Meals sitting outside in the warmth of friendship and shared company. These are happy times and I feel lucky that you shared them with me. Plus the visits with which I have been honoured since I moved to London. Thank you for your time and your
many kindnesses.

I hear from Anabel that you have finished your book. It will be fascinating to see the years of your work and your insights into life on the road with Joe and the children. Much laughter and tears I imagine as is the way with life.

Unfortunately when I fly back to the UK I only have a few hours in LA as I have to go back to school in London the next day. Unless BA do me a favour and get me to LA before they have a strike! Then I might be stuck there for a few days, not such a hardship for me and I will cross my fingers. If circumstances had been different I could have stopped to visit for a few hours. My thoughts and love are with you and shall fly up the 101 to sit quietly by and hold your hand, perhaps we shall share the same sunrise but from separate windows.

I cherish the time that we shared our lives and am thankful that you remained my friend across the oceans. These memories I will hold dear and try to be as generous with my loved ones and as selfless in my life as you have always been in yours, while not abandoning goals and facing challenges with optimism. I hope that this day goes as you wish and that you find comfort and peace.

All my love


Dear Aunt Margie,

Wish we could all be there for the celebration of your life and hear what are sure to be interesting, entertaining, and sentimental stories from family and friends. Because this week is spring break for our daughter, Mackenzie, we are off touring colleges in Oregon and northern California and are unable to be with you April 8th. But that won’t keep us from letting you know how you have touched our lives and hearts.

It was wonderful to see you recently on your visit with Steve to northern California. It meant so much to us that you stopped by for a visit. Despite what you have been through physically, you looked beautiful and elegant as always. It was such a treat to be with you, catch up a bit and hear about your book that we look forward to reading someday. As I mentioned then, it was uncanny to see the Henshaw family resemblance as I saw my Dad’s eyes in yours. You have always meant so much to him and Mom.

We are so grateful you have been part of our family. It seems like you’ve always brought a sense of adventure with you whatever you’ve done. Thank you for that inquisitive and caring approach to life that we all benefit from. And while our life paths have not crossed often in these later years it has been fun to keep in touch through common interest and excitement over the family tree. It certainly personifies the flow of life and how interconnected we all are.

We toast you, Aunt Margie, and the wonderfully full life that you’ve lived and shared. Thank you for being the generous, warm and loving woman you are.

With Love,

Jan, Bob and family

Aunt Margie

We all have aunts, if we’re lucky that is.
But who has an aunt that’s been in Show Biz?

Who has an aunt so stylish and jazzy?
With belts and bangles all razamatazy?

This Aunt Margie of mine, she’s next to none.
Her laugh tells all that the party’s begun.

Her heart is enormous, her thoughts are for all.
We’re remembered at Christmas with gifts that enthrall.

An ornament for sure, a bell, a little car.
My kids ripped open the package, Oooooo it’s a star!”

And the pencils she gave us year after year.
I treasure them, hoard them, to lose one I fear.

They say they’re Papermate, but that was before
They’re Aunt Margie pencils, now and evermore.

She’s an example to follow, I hope that I can.
Be just some of what she is, I’m such a fan.

So, to you my Aunt Margie, I lift up my glass.
You’re one of a kind, a woman of class.

You’re my favorite aunt and I love you to pieces
That’s my message to you from one of your nieces.

Have fun at your party, round all those that love you.
I’m sending a kiss and a great big hug too.

CYK, Ellie

Dear Margie,

Thanks for being you, your smile, your warmth and your laugh. I thank you for being part of our family, especially for the time you spent with my dad. I’ve enjoyed our visits with you, even if it was just a chance to meet up with you early mornings walking along the Santa Barbara beach. We are sorry we cannot be there to share these thoughts, a warm hug and kiss with you. We think of you every day, and wish you all the best in your new journey.

Love, Eliska and Brice

Dear Margie.

Over the last 15 years, I have only had the pleasure of your company, Margie, on few, rare occasions; however in my youth, you and my grandfather, Hap, were married and it is of this time that I have a couple of very important memories that I would like to share.

The first is your laugh. Not low or rumbling. Not polite and twittering. Your laugh is like a crack of lightening let loose across a room of people. It is an ear-piercing sound to be quite sure, but likely one of the most delightful ear-piercing sounds I have had the great pleasure of hearing. It`s a distinct, ``a-HA!`` that was always, to my memory, followed by the words, `Well, isn`t that wonderful?” I am grateful to you for sharing that laugh with me – either by blood or experience – as I now am a possessor of that very same laugh. My version does not ring out as often or with the same verve, but I am aware of its power when dining with friends, particularly due to the distinct lack of conversation at all of the tables around me as all the heads turn and search for the one who could produce such an expression of mirth. I remember watching those heads turn over meals with Grandpa Hap and Margie, and I relish in my own ability to do so now. Thank you Marjorie for that gift.

The second memory is less distinct but arguably more significant. My own grandmother passed away when I was only 5, and of her I have only ever heard the most amazing things. Marjorie stepped into my family as a companion to my Grandpa Hap – and in doing so she had tremendous shoes to fill. Grandpa Hap and Marjorie together survived a major earthquake and a firestorm which took their home and everything in it. Not long after the fire, Grandpa Hap began to succumb to the effects of cancer, after having given chemotherapy a chance – an effort which would leave him a changed man. Never before that time would I have dared describe my own grandfather as frail or weak, and yet that was who he was after his battle. Margie, you never left his side. You were there with him for every visit to the hospital, and for everything he wanted to get done in those last precious months. You were a source of genuine strength, comfort and happiness for my grandfather, and for that I will always be grateful.

Lastly, I am thankful to you Marjorie for giving me the chance to tell you these things, even if I cannot be there in person to say them. Know that I carry with me my happy memories of you, though I am quite sure no memory on earth has the capacity to hold all of the positive, meaningful and joyful memories that you have created for so many people throughout your life. I savour my memories, and I thank you for being the reason that I have them.

With love, Michelle Wilder

Marjorie's Honoring Ceremony/from David and Suzanne Huff

David and I were hoping to be able to be present for your Honoring Ceremony, but circumstances made that impossible. We do know, however, that Anabel's description and video will help give the feeling of being there.

Marjorie, you have been in my thoughts so much these past few weeks----re-connecting in January brought back many memories of interesting and fun times with "the Fords", and with nearly each one I needed you to help fill in some of the missing details. You and I were both so occupied with juggling family schedules, nurturing children, and playing "Little Susie Homemakers" that there was little time to express the important individual feelings and interests we had. The Marjorie I remember was composed and polite, academically curious and excellent at teaching/encouraging children to be the same, creative, just naturally quite beautiful, and always ready for enjoyment and laughter. We all had some special times together, and the pleasant memories of you and your family are all important to us and our family, and can never be forgotten.

The way you have handled such a very serious illness is to be commended!! Life does indeed flow along and all of us with it, but to handle it completely with beauty, brains, and a ready laugh intact is an inspiration to us could we ever forget-- Suzanne Huff

For Margie
A Note on the Concept of Flow of Life

My depth of understanding of metaphysics is very limited yet, the title of this memorium suggests that we are dealing with a very complex subject that focuses on the fundamental nature of reality. This approach, by necessity, is very theoretical. Given the complexity of this approach an alternative would be to seek the simplistic blue-print of organized religion. Where we have been and where we are likely to be going are laid out in an easily understood manner. This approach has its down side though because of the difficulties of verification. My solution would be to select activities that would please me the most and then hope that I have sufficient “pull” To get them approved. Marjorie, I want you to know that you would be on everyone of those lists. David Huff

Dear Marjorie -
I was not able to make it to your honoring ceremony; however, I have been thinking of you every day and especially thought of you that day. I hope you had an absolutely beautiful day with all the people there who admire you, love you, and hold the gifts you have given us all so gently in that special place in our heart reserved for beauty and love. That is how I have always seen you -- a being filled with beauty and love. And a special kindred spirit to me, too.
In many ways, you have been my artistic mom -- you and I share that special place that the arts bring to our life experience. I was in fact in a final dress rehearsal for our current production of the musical Narnia. This story of daring to believe in magical adventures, and stepping through the wardrobe to a mysterious and marvelous land of mythical creatures resonates a lot with me right now. You have been a living example of what it means to "step through the wardrobe". From all your days of putting yourself out there as an actress, to traveling the world with your family, to living your life with exuberance and a zest for new experiences, you have been inspirational to me and so many others.
I also want you to know how much of a kindred spirit I think you and my mom are, too. I know that I will always feel your loving and joyful heart-energy, and that you will be with us all from this side and the other side of the magical wardrobe!
I am coming to Santa Barbara next week. I hope to get to see you, if even for a moment.
Thank you for being Marjorie - the one and only. Thank you for bringing Ceci into this world; she is my bestest of the best, and she is a reflection of you. What a gift!

With much love,
Roseann Sheridan

Dear Margie

How I would have loved to be with you on this occasion. Even though it would not have been possible I do have another good reason insofaras the invite did not arrive until yesterday. (Problems with the postal address, which I will rewrite later).

I think this is a wonderful idea, one which did not cross our minds when Colin was having such a difficult time.

This then, my dear friend, is what I would like to say to you, and I know Colin is saying the very same things:

We have on our wall at home a photograph of you with the two of us which was taken by Joe in your home in Northridge where we first met back in the seventies. It was a very special occasion for us and one we never forgot. Colin knew of every film in which you had appeared whereas my knowledge in that regard was more limited. You treated us with such warmth we immediately felt relaxed and at ease and when it came time for us to leave it really did feel as though we had been in the company of an old friend. During the following years we kept in touch on birthdays and at Christmas and our final meeting took place in your home in Santa Barbara. That visit took place a long time ago as our last trip to the States was in 1994. It was always clear to us that you were a loving and caring beautiful person, and Santa Barbara proved again what we already knew. I recall that you took us for a drive around town during our stay.

Margie (we always called you Anabel) you were such a lifeline to me when Colin left us in December 2006, sending so many meaningful and caring messages to me over such a long period of time. I cherish them all for you are one of very few people who truly understood our relationship - you are so special and such a wonderful human being.
There is a lovely song Colin used to sing quite a lot and here are some of the words I send you now - "You are always in my heart, even though you're far away - -- and when skies above are grey , I remember that you care - and then and there the sun breaks thru". I hear his voice as these words appear.

I send you much love and pray that each day is a little better than the day before. God bless.


9 Mayflower Street
Geebung Queensland 4034
Gordon Leslie Hunter
Telephone: 0011 62 7 3265 2578

Margie, you are an inspiration to me. Your true joie de vivre, your innate kindness, your grace, your generosity of spirit inspire me and, I am sure, each of those who have the privilege of knowing you, to be a better person. You surely make me strive to be a better person.

You are constantly in my thoughts and prayers. I love you dearly.

Love, abrazos and besos,

Janice Gower

Hi Margie,

Sorry Tim and I can't make it to the honoring ceremony.

Here's a few thoughts:
My family and I really enjoyed our visits with Aunt Margie and Uncle Joe when we were kids, whether it was Northridge or Wrightwood or our house. I wasn't there for the famous pancake breakfast in Wrightwood, when oil, stored in a syrup jar ,was poured onto pancakes. The best times, for all cousins was of course, summers in Ben Lomond.

Aunt Margie has always been a bright light at family visits, and we'll miss her.

Love, Sarah McCarter

Dear Marjorie:

Danny and I remember meeting you for the first time in Santa Barbara at your apartment -- when we were there with Ceci for a summer Linguistics institute. Must have been about 2001. That was probably the best evening of that summer!

Santa Barbara was, of course, beautiful every day -- a kind of unbelievable, fairy tale weather world from a Midwesterner’s perspective -- and the evening we came to your house was balmy and soft. Ceci rocketed us over there in some little car she was borrowing and we arrived to a cozy welcome. You served bean burritos (Danny's favorite, so he was doubly in heaven!). As we talked, we felt your graciousness, poise and beauty filling the room, so we were not too surprised to discover that you had been a movie star. We ended up watching "Shock!" a few years later -- you're probably sick of talking about it -- but we thought you were great. Just needed more lines!

Over the years Ceci and I have kept up and she has always talked with great admiration and love about whatever you are up to. And I could always feel a pulse of recognition and connection in my heart because your artistic and open spirit had welcomed us so effortlessly that night in Santa Barbara . . . it seemed a simple, brief moment in all of our lives, but was actually a great gift to have and to share.

Danny and I wish you and your family and friends a smooth transition ahead.

Much Love,
Felicia Roberts & Danny Weiss
Felicia Roberts
Associate Professor
Department of Communication
2170 BRNG
Purdue University
West Lafayette, IN 47907
TEL: (765) 494-3323

Le Val d’Ajol, France
June 29th, 2078

Dear Marjorie,

Or shall I say : “Good mOOOOrning!”

My mother would definitely have said: “Bonjour, Duc!”

Anyway, Margie,

I am sitting here on my front porch and enjoying the last hours of my long and delightful life. Today, I have been celebrating my 105th birthday with the family and good friends; it was such a warm celebration. I had asked each of them to come and tell a story; we laughed so much, especially when one of them reminded me how I got embarrassed when I was trying to explain American friends that in France we have “ghost cheese”… in one second I was back in Belize and I could hear Vanessa saying: “Anne, I think you want to say “goat cheese”!

As the stories were over and all ready to take desert, the little Lucie came to me and asked: “Granny, what do you think you will be in your next life?” I could not resist telling her: “I will be a fairy, and I will be hiding behind trees, sand dunes and clouds! Whatever good or bad happens, I will be there to protect you all!” Lucie had this very enquiring face; very cute! And then she ran to her cousins and yelled: “Granny is going to be a fairy in her next life!”

Margie, you have been such a fairy for many people during their own life time. All of us who have met you have had such a happy soul because of your spontaneous smile, your sparkling eyes and your very positive spirit. You have been an example of courage, energy and good luck. Also today, I thought of you when the little Lucie came to me and suddenly I could hear you voice saying: “hahahaha! How wonderful is this little girl!” … So I thought: “it is the time for me to pass on this energy!”

In a few hours I will be meeting you up there… I can’t wait… we will have plenty of those “Good MooOOOOrning!!” moments as we had back at the time :)

Cheers Margie,

Anne Girardin

Margie: You are a dear and precious friend, with grace and
dignity. I will always cherish the happy memories
we shared.

With love and admiration.

Cleo Fisher

For the family:
Thank you and all your family for your generosity. At a moment when time is most precious, you chose to bring so many people together to give us the chance to share Margie, celebrate her, and acknowledge her many gifts.

Thank you for what I can only call an act of sweetness and bravery, to hold a wonderful party and 'rave' against the dying of the light - raving at the marvelous accomplishments and talents of your mom, and bravely - eyes wide open- honor her and remind all of us how to face the end of life's journey. How fortunate that she published a memoir for all of us to read and reread in the years to come - and to wit, come up with a helluva marvelous title; "Quintet in Asia Minor"!

And beauty - its why we make art, why we sing our clumsy little song, dance our clumsy little dance - to keep beauty alive, the true antidote to stupidity and injustice. Your mother in her ever-elegant, stylish way, is a role model for all of us women - and men! - I will never think about her without recalling beauty, grace, bravery and genuine humor. What a lucky woman you are, Anabel, to have Margie as your mom. And how lucky Macduff and I are that we know her, you and

Mary Heebner

Dear Margie -- every since Anabel first introduced us, under the shade
of the fine grove of oaks around your apartment, I have treasured the
thought of your vibrant presence. I was charmed by your beauty and your
serenity, which I knew was hard won from a challenging life, and also by
your sharp wit. I still admire all those wonderful gifts that you give
us, and I am especially grateful for the gift of Anabel, who means so
much to me, and to whom you mean so very, very much. Love from both me
and Sandy, far away in Europe -- Francesca.
Francesca Bray
Professor of Social Anthropology, University of Edinburgh
School of Social and Political Science
CMB, 15A George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LD, UK

April 18, 2010
Dear, Anabel, Ceci and Steve,
Although I have met each of you at various times, it is your mother who stays firmly planted in my mind. Her relationship to my mother covered many years from university wives to being ardently supported by my mother in her divorce. When she moved to the Bay Area, I saw her primarily when my mother came up for a visit. I recall having dinner with her and Mr. Scopecek at their home before it burned in the East Bay fire. After the fire, I was able to give Margie some furniture and other household items for their apartment in Alameda. But the item Margie liked the best was a rabbit coat that I bought in the 70’s. She accepted it with glee and the next time I saw it, she was wearing it in a play! She enjoyed acting in the Hillside Club plays and I attended at least one of her performance there and met some of her friends.

On Margie’s occasional trips up north to visit her cousin Ellie for a CAL game, she would make a point to call me. During the last trip I recall that Mary Ellen and I had lunch with her and Ellie at Garibaldi’s Restaurant on College Avenue. Mary Ellen worried all of us including your mom.

When my mother moved to Santa Barbara, Margie already lived there. We had a very frank discussion about whether my mother would become dependent on Margie. Well Margie wasn’t about to let that happen, she assured me. They went lots of places together and thoroughly enjoyed each other. I loved her condo on Miradero where I stayed several times when I came to town. Her tables were covered with photos and walls covered with pictures of her travels. There was a story associated with each item, if I only had the time to stop and listen. The kitchen cupboards always made me laugh, because they seemed to belong to a pack rat who saved even the smallest morsel, wrapped in plastic and a rubber band. It looked like her favorite store was Trader Joes. As I recall, we never had a proper meal there, as we almost always went out to dinner with my mother.

She was a great friend to my mother. She could laugh at some of my mother’s absurd comments or prejudices and just ignore her if she wanted. I was surprised to find that Margie had moved to Vista, given all my mother’s negative comments about the management. But the placed was beautiful and probably felt familiar to her.
What a gracious, fun loving and supportive woman your mother was. She will certainly be missed by me!

Helen Marie Marcus