Still in Love with Lucy

by Thomas Watson

Monday, June 11, 2007

Dear Fellow Lucyfans:

Remembering Maurice Marsac

We were saddened to learn last week of the death of actor Maurice Marsac, who appeared in two famous episodes of I Love Lucy, and hundreds of other television programs and motion pictures. Marsac died May 6 in Santa Rosa, CA, at the age of 92.

Maurice is perhaps best remembered by Lucy fans as the harried French waiter who served Lucy Ricardo a plate of snails in a Paris bistro (photo right). He was also the maitre d' of the Tropicana in "Ricky Asks for a Raise."

Marsac also appeared in the pilot of Jess Oppenheimer's Angel series; and in such programs as Mission: Impossible, Mannix and The Beverly Hillbillies.

His films include "How to Marry a Millionaire," "Come Fly with Me" and "Take Her, She's Mine."

The obituary that ran in the Los Angeles Times on June 6 is reprinted below:

Maurice Marsac, 92; French actor often portrayed snooty waiters

By Valerie J. Nelson, Times Staff Writer

June 6, 2007

Maurice Marsac, a French character actor who often played haughty waiters, most notably in "The Jerk," and who also was a nationally ranked croquet player, has died. He was 92.

Marsac died of cardiac arrest May 6 at a hospital care facility in Santa Rosa, Calif., said Mark Jaqua, a distant relative.

His death came less than three weeks after his wife of 55 years, Melanie, died at 90 in her sleep April 16 at their Oakmont, Calif., home.

After debuting as a French soldier in "Paris After Dark" (1943), Marsac appeared in more than 150 television shows and films, including "To Have and Have Not" (1944) and "How to Marry a Millionaire" (1953).

In "The Jerk" (1979), Marsac portrays the waiter who must deflect Steve Martin's complaint that his plate of escargots is covered with snails.

On television, Marsac "really enjoyed" playing a French teacher in "Our Miss Brooks," the 1950s series with Eve Arden, Jaqua said.

Marsac appeared in dozens of TV shows, including a 1956 episode of "I Love Lucy" in which he had to deal with Lucille Ball's distress over being served escargots.

His last role was as a maitre d' in the film "Dragnet" (1987).

About a decade ago, Marsac and his wife moved from Studio City to Oakmont to indulge in Northern California's more entrenched croquet culture.

As a member of the Beverly Hills Croquet Club, Marsac was noted for his teaching ability.

In 1989, he was named the resident pro at two Newport Beach croquet courts.

The Marsacs were part of an elite group invited to most croquet invitationals in the United States, said Bob Alman, founding editor of Croquet World Online Magazine.

"In the world of croquet, you have to be pretty good to be invited, but you also have to be invitable," Alman said.

"Maurice and Melanie were lively, exciting and wonderful, wonderful people who did not know how to have a dull conversation," he said.

With a higher ranking than his wife, Marsac was once among the top 5% of croquet players, Alman said.

Marsac was born March 23, 1915, in La Croix, France.

During World War II, he participated in the French Resistance.

The Marsacs often traveled extensively to play croquet and visit France or his wife's homeland of Mexico.

"He was sort of the last of a generation, with a code of honor and a regal bearing," said Jaqua, who was a distant cousin of Marsac's wife.

"He and his wife were so devoted to each other that we knew one probably wasn't going to be able to live without the other."


Dann "Returns" to Havana

For the past few years, Dann Cahn, the original film editor on I Love Lucy -- and later a director of various films and television programs -- has been writing his memoirs... No, he has not put them in a book. Rather, he's been writing articles for trade journals and magazines -- and making them available to the public as self-published booklets.

In celebration of the approaching 50th anniversary of "Lucy Takes a Cruise to Havana," the first of the "Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show" specials, Dann has dusted off "The Cuban Caper," an article he wrote a couple of years ago -- and is making it available again with a new 50th Anniversary color cover. In the article, Dann tells of his adventures directing location shooting for the special down in Havana... Included are photos and informal snapshots from Dann's personal collection.

Dann sold copies of the booklet at the Lucy-Desi Festival in Jamestown, NY, over Memorial Day -- but also wants to make them available (at least for the next few weeks) to readers of this web site. The spiral-bound booklets are priced at $12 each (including postage and handling), and can be purchased from Dann directly.

Send check or money order to:

Mr. Dann Cahn
The Cuban Caper
PO Box 49824
Los Angeles, CA 90049

If you want the booklet(s) inscribed, please enclose a note indicating to whom he should sign the inscription(s).

Have a great week everybody!


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