\ Posted by: Lou Ann Wiegert Fuentes
T.K. was my speech student when he was in high school. He used to tear up my class every day with his comments. Finally, I decided to approach him about trying out for the school play that I was directing and producing at the time. During his next stand up comedy routine in speech class, I told him he should come after school and read for the play I was producing, Neil Simon's The Odd Couple. He said, "Right, Miss Wiegert, you're really going to cast me." I told him he should come out and read for a part and see what would happen. He came out, and I cast him as the very first Black Oscar. A few years later, an all Black cast of The Odd Couple would air on T.V.
Now I would like to be able to say that it was all smoothe sailing from there, but it wasn't. On the night of the second performance, T.K. was late, then later. I called his house l5 minutes before curtain, and I woke him up. I told him to have someone drive him to the City of Hope auditorium where we were puting on the play and that he should put on his make-up on the way.
For THAT performance, T.K. messed with his lines so much that the other lead couldn't say his OWN lines. But we got through it. He turned on to comedy and acting so much that I heard he had gone to an actor's college somewhere. I also heard that he did about a l0-minute routine on me at the Comedy Store sometimes.
Then I was in Westwood one afternoon a few years after T.K. graduated. I heard someone yell my name, "Ms. Wiegert." It was T.K.
A year or so I saw him in a movie for the first time. It was "The Thing." I heard his voice first; then I saw him on rollerskates. I assumed that he would be one of the first to be killed, but he lasted nearly the entire movie. He did a great job, and I was VERY proud of him.
Then I saw him in a television series that appeared to be written for him, and I thought the writing could have been better. STill, I was very proud of T.K.
Then I saw him in "The Corner," and he blew me away with his acting and his range. You go on, T.K. I can't believe you are 50! Fifty is the new 30. Don't stop now! Go on and reach show EVERYONE the depth of your talent. I always believed in you, and I always will.
My best to you always,
Ms. Lou Ann Wiegert (Fuentes)
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