Actor, Singer and Night Club Owner Louise Ogilvie
Fay Bainter, Arthur Kennedy and Gypsy Rose Lee among many others.
On appearing in the play On Borrowed Time (1946) with Boris Karloff:
“He played God, and he sat up in a tree and he sort of governed things from up there… He was the sweetest thing in the world. He was so soft-spoken and so kind, and he was just a big love. And his wife was very charming, too. He was just a lovely man.”
Louise owned, directed, produced and acted at The Lamplighters in San Juan, Puerto Rico, for 11 years.
A start for Raul Julia: “Raul started with me [at Lamplighters]. He was working at the time as a standup comedian. He spoke fractured English, and he’d hoped to come to New York. So he really learned English with us…along with a lot of other things, but he was very funny and very talented. He was with me for quite a while and then came to New York… To hear him speak English, you’d just double-over with laughter, because his accent was so pronounced, and there were a few words we never did sufficiently conquer, but we used them anyway. Then he went to Hollywood and the rest is history!”
Louise posts jokes and stories to give fellow residents “a reason to smile or chuckle…I try to every day put up a new giggle... Once in a while they’re too raunchy, but I give the really raunchy ones to [friends] Skipp and Larry.”
Fellow residents recently awarded Louise with this title. “Somebody really sick nominated me for National Assisted Living Week. They must be out of their minds,” she joked.
Live! Live! Live!:
“I always knew I was going to get old and decrepit and fat, but I still can’t believe that. So bear that in mind. Have all the fun you can. Live your life to the absolute fullest. Don’t worry about tomorrow, don’t worry about when you’re old like I am. Live! Live! Live! Live! What else is there? ‘Nuttin.’”
Advice for young performers:
“Find something else to do. No—I’m kidding. It’s really a hell of a career to try to make it. My advice would be make bloody damn sure that’s what you want to do, then just ride it out—that’s all you can do. But the rewards are worth it, if you get any. But you get some, even if you’re not famous or anything. But the people you meet, they’re different. There’s something about the people in the theatre. There’s just something different about them, you just want to know them, get close to them. I have some very dear friends—for that I am eternally grateful.”
Louise is part of a very special community of unique individuals who reside at The Actors Fund's Lillian Booth Actors Home. The Home is the jewel in The Fund’s housing crown and a recipient of U.S. News and World Report’s coveted “Best Nursing Homes in America” award, bestowed on the best 2,700 of the 17,000 facilities nationwide. Our 124 residents represent a diverse cross-selection of the entertainment industry—from stagehands to writers to producers and, of course, dancers and actors, too. Nearly every entertainment union is represented under one roof in Englewood, New Jersey.
This interview originally appeared in Marquee, the official newsletter of The Actors Fund. Join The Fund today! Not only will you receive your own copy of Marquee twice yearly, plus all the benefits of membership, you'll also play an important role in helping everyone in our creative community in times of need, crisis or transition and continue The Actors Fund tradition of caring for our own in entertainment.
Top photo: Joann Coates