Thursday, June 28, 2012

An Actor's Legacy

Here in Wilmington we have a thriving movie and television studio that brings lots of work to the area. We're known as "Wilmywood." Hollywood of the East.

EUE Screen Gems Studios in Wilmywood

My father-in-law, who passed away a few years ago, was a working actor here. With an out-going personality, a heart for the Lord, and a flair for both the dramatic and the funny, he worked on films with stars like Gregory Peck, Reese Witherspoon, Beau Bridges, Diane Keaton, Sissy Spacek, Matthew Broderick, Anthony Hopkins, Andie McDowell, Robert Duvall, Diane Ladd, Katie Holmes Cruise, Laura Dern, Teri Hatcher, and more.

I loved talking with him in the kitchen over a slice of cinnamon crumb cake when he'd return home from the set ... hearing about the stars and their off camera antics. Or lack thereof. I remember asking him what Andie McDowell was "really" like. Dick said, "She's quiet and she likes to knit."  What? "When the director yells 'cut' she heads for the corner with her knitting needles." Who knew?

Dick was also involved in our strong local theater community. Plus, hosted a long running Christian radio show. So he was well known. For years it seemed everywhere Rick and I went we'd hear the same thing, "I know your Dad. He's a great guy! I really like him. How's he doing? Please give him my love."


It seems everyone had a story of how Dick showed them kindness, or cheered them up, treated them fairly, or inspired them with his use of the talents God had given him. Because their gratitude for him often paved the way for us, my experience with my father-in-law taught me the truth of Proverbs 22:21:

"A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold."

Just today a more recent friend of ours who works on movie sets asked me, "Hey, was Rick's dad Dick Olsen the Actor?"  Rick chimed in and said, "Yes he was. It was weird the first time I saw him on the big screen. I thought, 'I make scrambled eggs with that guy?!'"

Our friend replied, "I worked with Dick numerous times. He was one of my favorite local actors and a friend. That's so cool." 

That is so cool. A good name is more desirable than great riches. Dick's legacy lives on. Not on film, but in hearts.

What will your legacy be?

You and I are creating our legacies every day with each small choice we make. When we choose to be kind, to be cheerful, to be forgiving, to be humble, and to do our work to the glory of God, we build a legacy that becomes an inheritance for our family behind us.

I learned that from an actor, who made a real impact. Is there someone in your life whose name or legacy you've benefitted from?


  1. AnonymousJune 28, 2012

    My daughter is a legacy to me. She has taught me to love those wrongly deemed unloveable She has taught me there is no fear in perfect love.
    She has taught me to follow your dreams and if you keep them before God you will do great things. She has taught me how to love a persons weakness and encourage their strengths. She has taught me how to receive love and give it back bigger. Yes, she is the daughter and I am the mom but when it comes to making your life a legacy, she has done that for me.

    1. That's beautiful. Your daughter sounds like an inspiring person. May God bless you both, and the generations that follow you.

  2. My Mom was THE Proverbs 31 woman. I learned patience from her, but have a long way to go to fill her shoes. Inheriting her Bible has helped my spiritual journey.

    Your dad-in-law sounds cool.

  3. I love that you have your mom's Bible, Teresa. Patience is a virtue in short supply in our culture - your mom sounds like a special lady.

  4. There is a devotion in this my friend!! Love it!!


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