Mark Towner, longtime member of We Love Lucy and accomplished performer in his own right, died October 15, 2000, at his home in Pasadena, CA. He was 37.
Mark had been a member of We Love Lucy almost from the beginning. He joined in early, 1978, and immediately started submitting cartoons for our club publications. His original character "Michael" was somewhat autobiographic, in that the young man in the cartoons certainly had a Lucy outlook on life.
After finishing high school, Mark attended classes at Pasadena City College, and later was graduated from Chapman College in Orange County with a Bachelors of Art Degree. He then attended and was graduated from the Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey "Clown College." He immediately went to work as a professional clown and mime.
As a song-and-dance man, Mark also worked with Barry Manilow at Radio City Music Hall in New York City; had various bookings for two seasons in Laughlin, Nevada, and performed for a year at Magic Mountain amusement park in Southern California.
In 1995, Mark became host of the weekly KABC-Television series, Kid's View, for which he was twice nominated for local Emmy Awards. Mark won the award in 1998.
If entertaining was Mark's first love, certainly children were his second. Mark devoted much time and energy to worthwhile children's causes and charities, and often devoted time to performing at local grade schools.
Mark was an integral part of our Loving Lucy Convention production team from its inception in 1995. For the 1996 and '97 conventions, he directed and starred in our Saturday evening banquet shows. In the latter, he and Suzanne LaRusch brilliantly recreated the Red Skelton-Lucille Ball production number, "Poor Everybody Else" from "Lucy Goes to Alaska."
Since 1998, Mark has served as tour guide for our annual Lucy Bus Tours, and as host of the Convention Auctions. In 1999 he was responsible for reuniting the Conventions with Lucy's favorite charity -- Childrens Hospital/Los Angeles, ensuring that a special collection of items would be included in all our auctions, the funds from which benefit CH/LA.
In 1999, Mark and LaRusch devoted hours of pre- Convention time to special fundraisers also to benefit the Hospital -- including an evening in a local Pasadena candy factory in which Suzanne recreated many classic Lucy moments, while Mark induced customers to open their wallets for a worthy cause.
"Our club has been blessed with many wonderfully creative members," said president Tom Watson, "and Mark was one of the very special ones. He was a loving friend to all of us, always the first in line to lend a helping hand. We are all devastated by this loss, and will miss him terribly. May God be with him always."
Mark's family has requested that in lieu of flowers (or other remembrances), donations be made to Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.
If you would like to make a donation by check or money order, please send it to:
Childrens Hospital Los AngelesIf you would rather use a credit card, please visit the hospital's web site, and click on "make a donation." The address is:
Attention: Terry Chapman
4650 Sunset Boulevard, #29
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Be sure to indicate you are making the donation in memory of Mark Towner.
For more specific information, you can contact Ms. Chapman at 323-669-5972.
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