Editor's Note: This article is part of a monthly series highlighting the personalities featured in the Exhibit Hall at the Orpheum Theater Center. The recently renovated 1949 Movie Theater in Marshalltown continues to show movies, as it always did, and again houses a coffee shop, but now also features a black box theatre for live performances, several learning studios, a set design shop and an exhibit hall that celebrates Iowans who have contributed to the performing arts. Whether writing a screenplay, designing sets for Broadway or starring in a Hollywood Blockbuster, Iowans have long made their mark on the stage and screen. This month features three such personalities; George Reeves, Roy 'Halston' Frowick and William Frawley.
Jean Seberg was born in Marshalltown in 1938 and died in Paris, France in 1979. Having acted in high school plays, she got her big career break after being cast, over thousands of others, to play Joan of Arc in Otto Preminger's St. Joan (1957). Though the film was not a critical success, Jean was next cast by Preminger in Bonjour Tristesse (1958) and then starred in French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard's new-wave film, Breathless (1960) which won critical review. Known and remembered for her beauty, talent and efforts to further social justice, in the course of her career Jean gave memorable performances in Lilith (1964) with Warren Beatty, A Fine Madness (1966) with Sean Connery, Paint Your Wagon (1969) with Clint Eastwood, and Airport (1970) with Burt Lancaster. Jean Seberg attained, and has retained, iconic status.
Hill Harper is an accomplished film, stage and television actor who was born in Iowa City, Iowa in 1966. He is also the author of an award winning book for young adults and has an Associate of Arts from Brown University, a J. D. from Harvard Law School and a Masters in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government. While at Harvard, Harper joined the Black Folks Theater Company, one of the nation's oldest and most respected African American theater troupes and remains a member today. Despite his varied degrees, Harper chose to pursue acting. He has appeared in stage productions, independent and feature films, and several TV series including "City of Angels", "The Handler" and currently, "CSI: New York".
Judd Holdren was born in Villisca, Iowa in 1915 and died in West Los Angeles in 1974.
One of 10 children in a farming family, Judd showed an early interest in performing and dropped out of high school to pursue acting. He served his country during World War ll in the Coast Guard, but at the end of the war, he moved to Hollywood, where he first worked as a male model. Holdren then appeared in several serials of the 1950s and a few feature films, but undeniably, his most famous portrayal is that of the heroic 1950's crime fighter: 'Commander Cody, Sky Marshall of the Universe'.
Come to the Orpheum to see actual memorabilia from the careers of these and other Iowans and learn even more about how they've contributed to the world of entertainment. The Orpheum Theatre Center is a member of the League of Historic American Theaters and is administered by Iowa Valley Community College District. It is located at 220 E. Main St. in Marshalltown. For more information call 641.844.5909; or visit www.OrpheumCenter.com.