Survivors: Robert Clary, Margaret Cho, Gary Richards, and a Mosaic

userpic=frebergToday, while eating my lunch of chicken salad and matzah, I was staring at my list of accumulated articles to see if there was a theme. Suddenly it popped out to me — all of these stories are about people or things that are facing and surviving adversary:

  • Robert Clary. Mention Robert Clary to most people, and they won’t recognize the name. Folks from my generation will — Clary was a popular singer (I have his album singing songs from “Gigi”) and played LaBeau on Hogans Heroes. Clary is also a survivor. The Paris-born Clary spent three years in a concentration camp before making it big in New Faces of 1952, and went on to play a major role in Heroes with fellow Nazi survivors Warner Klemperer and John Banner. For 20 years, Clary has traveled the U.S. and Canada, speaking at schools, colleges and other venues about the horrors of the Holocaust.
  • Margaret Cho. Many folks may be familiar with the comic Margaret Cho, who also had an ABC sitcom many years ago. Cho writes of her experiences going to a Korean spa, and how the traditional women there reacted to her heavily tattooed naked body. In the article, she talks about her tattoos are a mark of her survival: “”These were all women of various sizes and shapes and some, like me, bore the marks of a difficult life. My tattoos represent much of the pain and suffering I have endured. They are part of me, just like my scars, my fat, my eternal struggle with gravity. None of our bodies are ‘perfect’. We live in them. They aren’t supposed to be ‘perfect’. We are just us, perceived flaws and all”
  • Gary Richards. Most people probably don’t recognize Gary Richards. Those in the Bay Area will recognize his pen name: “Mr. Roadshow”. I know Gary because he occasionally tosses a SoCal question my way (and I truly wish the LA Media News Group would have him write a column for the LAMG papers). Gary recently wrote a column about a situation he is being forced to survive: He can’t drive. Gary was just diagnosed with something called Charcot foot, a disease that can cause the bones to deteriorate. No walking or driving for at least 6-8 months. He has to use a walker, and remain immobile as much as possible. This on top of a previous injury: he has been an amputee since age 11, when bone cancer took his left leg above the knee. Especially with Gary’s job, not being able to drive must be incredibly frustrating; I remember when I was laid up with a broken right foot and a good left leg. I’m sure we all with Gary a speedy recovery.
  • Petroleum Mosaic. Our last survivor is not a person but a thing: A mosaic of the petroleum industry in Los Angeles that miraculously survived the destruction of the Wilshire Grand Hotel. The story of how the mosaic was discovered and researched is fascinating.

Music: Sing for Joy (Rabbi Gershom Sizom/Abayudaya Jews of Uganda): “Shema”


3 Replies to “Survivors: Robert Clary, Margaret Cho, Gary Richards, and a Mosaic”

  1. Thanks for including a mosaic as a survivor! Important midcentury architectural mosaics are, unfortunately, being thrown out with the out-dated building demolition bathwater on a daily basis. With spotlights like yours, maybe we can stop the carnage! Nancie Mills Pipgras, Editor

  2. Thanks Highway Guy! appreciate your sharing my article on MAN. Spreading the word helps bring further awareness to these midcentury masterpieces. I have more article like this on MAN – will check out LAist too. thanks!

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