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Murry Frymer, Ron Miller, Gerald Nachman, John Stanley
Maury Allen, Elias Castillo, Murry Frymer, Gina Gallo, Patricia J. Geister, Jim Hummel, Stan Isaacs, Ann Jillian, Kinney Littlefield, Joanne MacDonnell, Chuck McFadden, Ron Miller, Andy Murcia, Andrew Penner, Lynn Perrier, Donna Plesh, Audrey Yeager, David Zinman
James Bawden, Paul Hertelendy, Karen Sharpe, Johnny Sheffield
(Other "guest columnists" have contributed a single column)
Meet the Columnists
Murry Frymer was one of the San Francisco Bay Areas most popular newspaper columnists before leaving the San Jose Mercury News in early 1999 to pursue new paths in writing, including his current role as founding partner and writer for this website. Frymers journalism career also includes stints as Viewpoint Editor, editorial writer and critic for Newsday in New York; and senior editor posts at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Boston Herald-American and the Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle. Frymer also was author and lyricist for the off-Broadway musical, Four by Night. His first book, They're Coming For My Mattress, quickly sold out its first edition. He also writes a regular column for San Jose Magazine. Frymers perspectives are close to home, filled with the characters of his life. But his tales are universal, a sad/funny world in which we all live.
Home Base: San Jose, Calif.
Ron Miller was TV Editor and syndicated columnist for the San Jose Mercury News from 1977-1999. He left daily newspapers in 1999 to concentrate on books, TV projects and his current role as a founding partner, editor and writer for TheColumnists.com. Hes the author of Mystery! A Celebration (1996), the Agatha, Anthony and Macavity award-nominated companion book to PBS Mystery! TV series, and a co-author of Masterpiece Theatre (1995). A former national president of the Television Critics Assn., Miller also has served as a national judge for the CableACE awards and was a National Headliner Award winner in 1994. Miller is now writing mystery columns for the official PBS Mystery! website and our own Dark Corridors mystery section. He's also writing and co-producing a TV documentary about the history of the mystery genre in partnership with KTEH-Ch. 54, the San Jose PBS station. He teaches mystery, movie and television courses at Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Washington, and this fall will teach a new mystery course at Western Washington University, also in Bellingham.
Home Base: Blaine, Wash.
Gerald Nachman already has logged 40 years as a critic, columnist and reporter, covering theater, movies, cabaret and TV for the San Francisco Chronicle, the New York Daily News, Oakland Tribune, New York Post, San Jose Mercury and TheaterWeek Magazine. Hes the author of Raised on Radio (1988), an anecdotal history of the golden age of radio, now out in a new paperback edition. Nachmans humor pieces for newspapers and magazines were collected in two books -- Out On A Whim and The Fragile Bachelor. Hes also the author of a humorous book on marriage, Playing House and contributed to a New Yorker Magazine parody called Snooze. Hes co-authored three musical revues -- Quirks, Aftershocks and New Wrinkles -- and won a New York Page One Award and ASCAPs Deems Taylor Award for a series of articles on Broadway songwriters. He also has served on the Pulitzer prize best-play jury. He's currently writing a new book for Pantheon on the standup comedy revolution of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Nachman is now on emeritus status with the website while he concentrates on other projects, but his classic columns remain online.
Home Base: San Francisco, Calif.
John Stanley walked into the San Francisco Chronicle in 1960 to take a job as copy boy for the summer, but ended up staying 33 years. As a writer/editor on the Sunday Datebook staff, Stanley reviewed films and interviewed some of the greatest stars of his generation. A specialist on sci-fi/horror films, Stanley spent six years as TV host for KTVU's Creature Features. His reference book, The Creature Features Movie Guide, came out with its sixth edition this year from Penguin. Stanley also is the author of the novel World War III (1976), the Edgar-nominated mystery The Dark Side (1977), and the non-fiction book Them Ornery Mitchum Boys about hell-raising Hollywood brothers Robert and John Mitchum. Through his own publishing imprint, Creatures at Large, Stanley also printed Robert Bloch's Lost in Time and Space with Lefty Feep (1987), a collection of short stories from the author of Psycho. Stanley also wrote and directed the feature film "Nightmare in Blood" (1976). Since retiring from the Chronicle in 1993, Stanley has continued to review films, makes crossword puzzles for TV Guide publications and works as an Elderhostel instructor, specializing in classes about the world of entertainment. He joined TheColumnists.com team as a full partner in January, 2000. Now concentrating on other projects, John's new columns appear less frequently, but his classic columns remain online in our archive pages.
Home Base: Pacifica, Calif.
Artist Jim Hummel is as good as it gets in the category of illustrative art. The veteran artist, illustrator and cartoonist has been syndicated by Copley News Service, the Associated Press and now draws the syndicated Foibles comic feature. He has illustrated for Marvel Comics and currently draws for San Jose Magazine, where he illustrates Murry Frymer's column, among his other duties. An instructor for San Jose State University, he has won numerous awards from such organizations as the Society of Illustrators, Society of Publication Design and the Society of Newspaper Design.
Home Base: San Jose, Calif.
Author of 30 books, including the current "All Roads Lead to October," and more than 5,000 magazine articles; New York Post sports columnist for 28 years; sports columnist for Gannett newspapers for 10 years; former Sports Illustrated reporter--that's just a hint of the vast experience Maury Allen brings to TheColumnists.com as one of America's leading sports columnists. Says Allen, "With my trusty calculator, I figured out that I have created something well in excess of two million words in print in my 50 years in journalism." Allen is also the editor of the annual New York Baseball Writers Dinner Journal magazine. Two of his books have been bestsellers: "Where Have You Gone, Joe DiMaggio?" (1975) and his 1978 biography of Casey Stengel, "You Could Look It Up." At 68, Allen assures us he's "still going strong," but anyone who reads his latest columns already knows that, right?
Home Base: Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.
Elias Castillo, author of the "Border Boy" series, is a prizewinning reporter whose background includes stints as an Associated Press correspondent and as a reporter for the San Jose Mercury News, where he won numerous awards for his journalism. He now writes op-ed pieces on U.S.-Mexico relations for the San Francisco Chronicle and operates his own public relations firm. He has a master's degree from San Jose State University, where he also taught classes in journalism. A specialist in covering U.S.-Mexican affairs, he co-authored the "Mexican Drug Syndicates in California" chapter of the new book "Organized Crime and Democratic Governability, Mexico and the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands."
Home Base: Redwood City, Calif.
Gina Gallo is a Chicago native, but she has also lived in New York and Honolulu. Before she became a Chicago cop, Gina was a roller-skating waitress in a piano bar on Waikiki Beach. Undoubtedly, that toughened her up a bit for patrol duty. She also has worked as a muralist in stained glass, as a designer of flower exhibits and is also a psychologist. From her experience as a street cop on Chicago's tough west side, Gallo wrote her true-life book from St. Martin's press, Armed and Dangerous, which is now being developed as a television series for CBS by Industry Entertainment. Gallo is also a skilled fiction writer and has contributed several stories to our DARK CORRIDORS pages.
Home Base: Chicago, Ill.
Patricia J. Geister
Patricia J. Geister says, "Imagination is the most active muscle in my body." She began thinking about becoming a writer from the first time she saw the "Brenda Starr" comic strip in the Sunday paper.
The Kansas native started writing for federal government publications and for private industry and, for a short time, worked for an Air Force investigational agency. Now based in Seattle, Washington, Geister has written for many publications as a freelancer and in 2001 published her first novel, "Say Good Night to the Moon." She joined www.thecolumnists.com writers group in early 2002. Here's what she says about her approach to writing: "When I create a story, be it fiction or nonfiction, I get into the reader's heart. If the situation is funny, I make them laugh out loud. If the scene is sad, I let them cry. There might be a person on those pages who makes you wish you could meet them and fall in love. However, a character doesn't have to be someone you'd want to invite to dinner. You may read my words and feel totally repulsed at the sound of their voice in your mind. That's what I want you to do. That's my job and I take it seriously."
Home Base: Seattle, WA
Stan Isaacs is a former Newsday sports and feature columnist. He wrote the popular column, "Out of Left Field" which won a National Headliners Award. He is an Eastern District H,S. and Brooklyn College, '50. Alumnus. He had a one-year National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship at Stanford University. He worked for the Daily Compass before Newsday and wrote a column for the ESPN page on the Internet. His acclaimed Isaacs Ratings of Esoteric Distinction (which include the famed Chocolate Ice Cream evaluations) now appear every April in the Viewpoints section of Newsday. He lives in Roslyn Heights, N.Y., is married to Natalie Bobrove, a retired social worker, and has three daughters and four grandchildren.
Home Base: Roslyn Heights, N.Y.
Ann Jillian has added writing to her many accomplishments as a star of stage, screen and television. In show business since childhood when she first appeared on Art Linkletter's TV show, Jillian played Little Bo Peep in Disney's Babes in Toyland, then was Dainty June in Gypsy with Natalie Wood. In her teens, she appeared in such classic TV shows as Twilight Zone, Ben Casey and Hazel. She made her Broadway debut in 1979 in the original company of Sugar Babies with Mickey Rooney and Ann Miller. Jillian has starred in three network series: It's A Living, Jennifer Slept Here and The Ann Jillian Series. She's starred in more than 25 movies and miniseries and earned Emmy nominations for three TV movies: Ellis Island, Mae West and The Ann Jillian Story. She won the Golden Globe for the latter , playing herself in the story of her victory over breast cancer, scoring the highest ratings of any TV movie of the 1987-88 TV season. Jillian's courageous fight against cancer led her into a new career as an inspirational speaker. She has her own website at: www.AnnJillian.com
Home Base: Sherman Oaks, Calif.
Michael Johnson started his professional life as a reporter at the Hayward (Calif.) Daily Review in 1960. He then joined the Associated Press, which sent him to Charleston, West Va., New York and Moscow, where he covered the beginning of the end of Soviet communism. A few years later he was in Paris writing for Business Week, and subsequently went to London as editor of International Management magazine. From 1992-2002, he has worked in public relations, most recently as Director of Corporate Communications for ICO Global Communications in London. In 2001, TheColumnists.com printed two series of excerpts from books in progress by Johnson: Deer Crick Diaries, his reminiscences of growing up in Delphi, Indiana, and Reporting the News from A Police State, his memoirs as a foreign correspondent in Moscow. They were so well-received that Johnson was invited to begin his current series of regular Letters from London.
Home Base: London, England
Kinney Littlefield is one of America's most respected television critics and columnists. She comes to us from the Orange County Register in Southern California, where she covered the medium from 1993-2000.
Littlefield knows television intimately after several jobs in the medium, including producing and reporting for KETC in St. Louis, Mo.; KERA in Dallas, Texas, and GroupW cable in Irving, Texas. Littlefield currently writes about visual arts for the Orange County edition of the Los Angeles Times and has written for Broadcasting & Cable Magazine, the Dallas Morning News and the Dallas Observer. Her background includes work as a photographer, film programmer, teacher, gallery curator, media librarian and community video producer. She also has studied acting in the adult conservatory of the acclaimed South Coast Repertory theater in Southern California. A versatile writer, she has contributed to DARK CORRIDORS and recently filed moving dispatches from Israel during the flareup of hostilities between Palestinians and Israelis.
Home Base: Santa Ana, Calif.
Joanne MacDonnell Joanne MacDonnell is a San Francisco Bay Area freelance writer and former writer, editor and columnist for the San Jose Mercury News. In 1969, she was honored by the San Francisco Press Club for a series "using the writer's initiative" and in 1971 won a first place in the California Newspaper Publishers Assn. competition for best family coverage. In 1983, she left daily journalism to become a clerk in the family division of the Santa Clara Superior Court, editing custody reports for judges. In 1999, she returned to writing as a freelancer.
Home Base: San Jose, Calif.
Chuck McFadden knows the political scene extremely well--and loves to poke fun at it with his humorous columns. He's a former Associated Press reporter who covered the Reagan administration in Sacramento. He also has worked in government--as an assistant to former California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Wilson Riles and now works in media relations for the University of California. A graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara, Chuck began his journalism career as a radio reporter in his home town--Santa Cruz, Calif. His wife, Barbara, is a lawyer.
Home Base: Oakland, Calif.
Andy Murcia was an often decorated Chicago police sergeant, who retired from police work to manage the career of his wife, Ann Jillian, the glamorous entertainer who's also a vital member of our writing staff. Andy met her when she was visiting Chicago while touring with Sammy Cahn's "Words & Music" and he was providing security at her hotel. Their love story was re-created in "The Ann Jillian Story," the highest-rated TV movie of the 1987-88 TV season. Andy was portrayed on screen by actor Tony Lo Bianco. Murcia has co-authored the book Man To Man: When The Woman You Love Has Breast Cancer and made his debut as a columnist in our Christmas, 2001, edition. The Murcias are the first husband-wife team to write for this web site.
Home Base: Sherman Oaks, Calif.
Andrew Penner is a 10-year class A member of the Canadian Professional Golfers' Association. He lives in Calgary, Alberta, with his wife and six-year old son. When he's not teaching or playing golf, he's writing for numerous publications in Canada and the US. His work has been featured in publications such as FHM, World Golf, Inside Golf, Chicken Soup For The Golfers' Soul, Washington Golf Monthly, Above & Beyond, and many more. His self-syndicated humor column, titled "Plugged In The Hazard," takes a satirical look at golf related topics that are rarely written about. A number of editors have dubbed him the "Dave Barry of the golf world."
Home Base: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Lynn Perrier would rather not be nicknamed "The Catwoman," but understands why so many of her fans might be thinking along those lines. She is a world-class cat fancier anc currently shares her home with eight of them. The author lives in Toronto in the province of Ontario, Canada. She formerly operated an antique/gift shop and has been writing for the past 20 years. Says Perrier, "My goal ...is to publish books in the manner of James Herriot, whom I've found to be a great inspiration." Perrier also has written several engaging non-feline columns for us. She is now working on a book, about cats, of course.
Home Base: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Donna J. Plesh
Donna J. Plesh is a native of Cleveland, Ohio, and is a graduate of the School of Journalism at The Ohio State University. During her newspaper career she has been a feature writer, copy editor, copy desk slot person, sports writer, education writer, city hall reporter, entertainment writer, television critic and television writer. She most recently worked on the TV magazine staff of the Orange County Register and helps cover the television scene for TheColumnists.com.
Home Base: Tustin, Calif.
Audrey Yeager is a freelance writer and columnist living in the Pacific Northwest. Her outlook on life is warm, humorous and often sentimental, but she also wrote a rather creepy horror story for our DARK CORRIDORS pages, so she's full of surprises. Her articles, columns and poetry have appeared in the Tacoma News Tribune, Country Almanac Magazine, Christian Singles Magazine, Goleta Gazette, Thurston/Mason Senior News, Woman's Touch Magazine and the Nisqually Valley Newspaper. Her humor column, "Down Home," is in its fifth year as a newspaper feature. Audrey has taught creative writing at a private school and one of her columns was reprinted in the monthly publication of the Washington State Weekly Newspaper Pubishers group. She's the mother of six and has 17 grandchildren.
Home Base: Yelm, Wash.
David Zinman is a former reporter for Long Island Newsday and the Associated Press bureau in New Orleans. He's the author of 50 Classic Motion Pictures and The Day Huey Long Was Shot. He recently co-authored a play about the assassination of the Louisiana Kingfish and completed a collection of short stories. He's a graduate of Columbia University and the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. Now retired, he divides his time between New York and Conway, South Carolina, the hometown of his wife, Sara. In Conway, he writes a column for the Horry (County) Independent. Zinman was a first prize winner in the 1998 competition of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. The Zinmans have three children and twin grandchildren.
Home Bases: Point Lookout, N.Y., and Conway, S.C.
James Bawden James Bawden is a film and television writer for the Toronto Star. An authority on classic cinema, he was a frequent contributor to Films in Review. He formerly covered TV for the Hamilton Spectator. He has written about film classics for TheColumnists.com since our first year.
Home Base: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Veteran West Coast music writer and journalist Paul Hertelendy is the former music critic for the Oakland Tribune and San Jose Mercury News, and is now in his third year writing for and managing the San Francisco Bay Area cultural affairs website: www.artssf.com. He also is the author of three volumes of poetry: The Very Slender Volume; Vietnam, Venice, Varied Vales; Poetrose in the 'Oughties. In 2000, he was named Poet Laureate by the national board of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Hertelendy was born in Eastern Europe, but raised in Washington, D.C. He speaks four languages and two others "badly." He has a Ph.D. in engineering from the University of Calif., Berkeley; an MSE from Stanford University and a BSE from Princeton. He has chaired several non-profit organizations in the Bay Area, including the Chinese Cultural Center and, currently, the Lawrence Hall of Science. He has served six years on the board of the Smithsonian. Hertelendy, his wife, Martha, and their family live in Piedmont, Calif.
Home Base: Piedmont, Calif.
For more than 25 years, Berkeley, Calif., based Karen Sharpe has been a ghostwriter, book editor and writer for both print and TV mediums, specializing in a wide range of subjects from women's issues, art and psychology to the environment, the media and personal relationships. Then she abruptly decided to pack up her laptop and her dog, Moki, to make a new start in life in Paris, France. Her journal of this life-changing process, A New Life in Paris, was serialized here in 29 chapters in 2000. She also has contributed to our Academy Awards coverage.
Home Base: Paris, France
Johnny Sheffield instantly became one of the most popular child stars in Hollywood in 1939 when he was cast as "Boy" in MGM's Tarzan Finds A Son! He played Tarzan's son until he left the enduring jungle series in 1947, but resurfaced to star in his own series with Bomba the Jungle Boy in 1949. When the Bomba series ended in 1955, Sheffield finished his college education, then made the unsold TV pilot Bantu (pictured) before retiring from acting to enter the business world. Sheffield's writing career began with his Memoirs of A Jungle Boy series for TheColumnists.com. Johnny recently demonstrated his versatility by writing a column about golfer Tiger Woods without ever using the word "umgawa."
Home Base: Chula Vista, Calif.
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