Tuesday, July 12, 2011


The Official "Dark Shadows" Published Newsletters
The Official Dark Shadows News Updates - posted via The ShadowGram Yahoo Group
Marcy Robin's Cyberspace "Dark Shadows" News Updates
An Official Internet Publication of SHADOWGRAM
Number 241            July 11, 2011
Hello, Dark Shadows Fan,
ShadowGram (SG), The Official Newsletter & News Source for Dark Shadows (DS),
announces the following breaking news in this Online DS News Update "bulletin."
Paul was memorable - and loved being remembered - for his DS role as the Gypsy King "Johnny Romano."
He succumbed at age 84 to heart failure on July 8, at his home in Woodland Hills, CA. His career covered 6 decades on stage, in TV, film, and even performing on international cruise ships. Since they first got together 23 years ago, he often co-starred in theater and on-screen productions with his constant companion and ladylove, actress Marion Ross.
SG print issues frequently have detailed his onstage performances, including exactly a year ago, when the couple starred in "The Last Romance" at San Diego's Old Globe Theatre. The play was specifically written for and based on some of their life experiences. The couple clearly adored each other and were perfect together . The 3-character play kept them onstage almost constantly, and yet Paul delivered acclaimed performances, even at his age and as his health was declining.
In SG #119-#120 a few months ago, I quoted Paul from a San Diego Union 8-1-10 interview: "These are the happiest days of my life, with Marion."
Last Friday, I received an unconfirmed report that Paul had passed, but I waited for definite word. That confirmation sadly arrived today.
Paul was born in Providence, RI, of Lebanese descent, though his acting talents saw him often cast as an Italian or other ethnicity - including under heavy makeup as DS' "King Johnny." A graduate of Brown University, he also was a fluent speaker of 5 languages, riveting storyteller, splendid cook, and gifted singer who once auditioned for the NY Metropolitan Opera. He worked with independent opera companies in New York until he won a co-starring role with Judy Holliday in the hit musical "Bells Are Ringing" in 1956.
He was on Broadway and in theaters nationwide in musicals, comedies, dramas, classic and new plays, and more. He did many touring productions, notably performing as Tevye in "Fiddler on the Roof" in more than 1,000 performances around the country.  He worked with many acclaimed directors and a range of esteemed actors, actresses, singers, dancers, and others. People often recognized him for DS and for roles on "Frazier" and "Seinfeld" (he guested in the popular 'The Maestro' episode). He also appeared on "Kojak," "Hill Street Blues," and "General Hospital."
Variety noted Paul and Marion starred together in the recent Hallmark movie "Where There's a Will"and in theatrical appearances at San Diego's The Globe and Kansas City's New Theater in "Barefoot in the Park" "Love Letters" and Joe DePietro's "Over the River and Through the Woods." When playwright DePietro (Tony winner for best musical "Memphis") saw them in "Over the River...", "he was so impressed that he wrote for them 'The Last Romance,' which premiered in Kansas City and then opened the new theater in the round at The Globe last year."
Additionally, Marion stars in the Hallmark Channel Original Movie "Keeping Up with the Randalls," which airs at 8 p.m. this Saturday, July 16.
Marion's son, actor/performer/impressionist Jim Ross Meskimen, explained Paul's personality, talents, life, and impact on him in his blog; meskimen.wordpress.com - some excerpts follow.
"This week we said goodbye to our dear friend and family patriarch, actor Paul Michael.
Paul was not my biological father, but he and my mom were constant companions, and effectively a married couple for over twenty years. They met on a play in Los Angeles and instantly fell in love. They continued to work together, touring the world and enjoying life and each other's company. He always said, 'Marion is my hero.'
"He was a hardworking stage, TV and film actor who spent literally years of his life onstage. The last show he did was last summer, performing with my mother in a play written expressly for them by Joe DiPietro. Joe has since won a few Tony awards for other productions, and could have easily won another for Marion and Paul's play, The Last Romance, had it made it to Broadway. It still may someday, but now, sadly without Paul. (Sadly for audiences, since his rendition of the role was something marvelous to behold.)
"Paul was going to be 85 this year. He and my mother did eight shows a week at the Globe Theater in San Diego, two acts with only one other character. It was a crowning triumph of a truly stellar career. And he was SO funny in the role. The audience, attendance by which broke all records for that venue, was crying with laughter or pathos throughout the play."
"Paul was of course also an extraordinary singer, and had enough power to reach the back of large theatrical venues without amplification; he was, in other words, a trained Broadway singer. He in fact appeared in many, many Broadway productions, and in touring companies of shows like Zorba, and Fiddler on the Roof, where he carried the leading roles. He was that sort of actor, a Tevye, a Zorba, a bigger than life character that audiences wanted to watch and listen to.
He would sing anywhere, anytime, and his booming bass voice would resonate in your chest and echo through the house, or the great outdoors.... I will never forget Paul's laughter. It was as robust as his songs. Often, something would strike him so funny he would come apart laughing, tears filling his eyes with delight."
"For the last couple years, Paul has been having health problems and had been on a steady decline. Last year was a very difficult one, in the season following his triumph with Marion onstage in The Last Romance. In truth, he seemed to have been working on a gracious exit from the larger stage of his life since then, and there were numerous emergencies and trips to the hospital, where they patched him up again so that he could return home (and) to Marion .....Then on Wednesday, July 6th, he enjoyed a cigar in the garden, spoke lovingly on the phone with his son, Matt, said he'd see him that night, then went into the house, took off his shoes and lay down on the couch. That's where Marion found him."
"So, we are thankful today to Paul Michael for the many years of companionship, love, entertainment, of sustenance, of friendship, and of laughter that he gave us, and the many, many warm memories." - Jim Ross Meskimen
Paul joined us at a late 1980s-early 90s DS Festival in Los Angeles. At the 1998 Fest at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, he and Marion were tremendous hits as fans eagerly asked them both for autographs - after all, she was a TV icon in her own right as "Mrs. C(unningham)" on "Happy Days" for 11 years, as well as many other familiar characters.
In 2010, Paul kindly shared his own comments and information about "The Last Romance" with me for SG #117-#118. Most memorably, I remember our delightful talks at the Fests or when I saw him in plays here in the LA area. We've exchanged holiday cards for years. Until recently, each card showed them holding the same 'Season's Greetings" banner as they stood or sat in front of a distinctive international location, from Russia to the "Happy Days Diner." He was a wonderfully welcoming, friendly person and together, they represent love and what it means to be a life partner regardless of age.
Survivors include Marion and his sons Matt and Greg Michael. At this time, so soon after Paul's passing, SG has not received any further information about arrangements, memorial donations, etc. I will share any such details as they are provided.

--- Please share with SG any obituaries, tributes, retrospective articles, etc., you may find about Paul's career and his passing. SG also welcomes any photos you have of Paul when he guested at the DS Festivals. He was such a delightful man and the new SG #121 wants to salute him and his memory.
Please identify the complete source and send all materials to the SG addresses.
You can send clear original print items to
Marcy Robin
P.O. Box 1766
Temple City, CA 91780-7766
You can e-mail images/articles as a  jpeg  at high resolution to    shadowgram@aol.com
--- All fans are invited and encouraged to send SG any and all DS-related media mentions that you find at any time. Such references can be about the DS personnel and their projects, the upcoming Depp/Burton DS movie, the DS Festivals, DS merchandise, etc These items can come online, in print, or on the air; be international, national, or local; general or detailed; accurate or incorrect in content; specific or generic references.
All such items are important to the ShadowGram Newsletters, the actual complete published Official DS Newsletter and News Source.
The current issue is the huge Double SG #119-#120 and it is immediately available by postal-mail subscription.
SG print edition subscription information is later in this Update.

Please include your full name so I can list you as a Contributor in the published SGs. You also may receive a complementary Contributor's Copy for major donations of information, funds, postage stamps, supplies, photos, publicity, assistance, etc. Thank you in advance for sharing.
This Update is posted to the ShadowGram YahooGroup and is dispersed by interested people  to various lists, boards, websites, groups, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, LiveJournal, in personal emails and other online/print communications. Please include SG's complete address and subscription information in your sharing.
You can join the actual SG YahooGroup easily at no cost:
Membership in the group is free and you do not need to be a SG postal-mail subscriber to join.
You can read past SG Online Updates once you're a member of the group by clicking on the "Messages" tab.
If you'd like more information on how to become a SG YahooGroup member, or to get an invitation to join the group, please e-mail Marcy Robin at shadowgram1@yahoo.com
Thank you.
Marcy Robin
ShadowGram Editor / Publisher
P.O. Box 1766
Temple City, CA 91780-7766
E-mail: ShadowGram@aol.com
YahooGroup e-mail: Shadowgram1@yahoo.com
Official ShadowGram Website: ShadowGram.com
SHADOWGRAM (SG) is the *Official* "Dark Shadows" Newsletter. Much of its news is directly provided by the show's personnel and those involved in the 1966-71 TV series,
1991 TV series, and 2004 WB pilot. Established almost 32 years ago in April, 1979, SG
works directly with individuals, companies, and others involved in DS' creation,
distribution, promotion, merchandise, etc.
SG print issues are published throughout the year. Free time-sensitive complementary bonus breaking-news published updates can be sent as needed at any time to all current paid postal-mail subscribers.
Brief Update bulletins are posted through the ShadowGram Online "Dark Shadows" News Updates Yahoo Group.
NOTE: The e-mail Updates are * NOT * the actual Official DS Newsletter. The Official DS Newsletters are the published SG print issues that expand and explain each short Online Update post. The postal-mail edition is available by paid subscription and provides specific detailed information, exclusive/rare photos, media coverage, and much more than these brief Updates.

SG postal-mail print issues are immediately available. The current published newsletter is sent to you immediately to begin your subscription / renewal.
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Marcy Robin
P.O. Box 1766
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For more information on the newsletter, please write with a SASE (Self-Addressed
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Thank you.

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