A 50th high school reunion directory entry apparently filled out by Oscar-winning screen writer David Seidler, formerly of Great Neck, reveals a life of adventure and a glimpse back to the former handicap he turned into gold.
Before Seidler’s Academy Award-winning interpretation of “The Kings Speech,” the story of a British Monarch who overcomes a stammering problem, he wrote a telling description of his most vivid memories of high school.
“The fuzzy angora sweaters that the girls wore and getting over stuttering and then auditioning for the school play the next week and getting a role,” wrote Seidler, in a Great Neck High School directory entry provided to Blank Slate Media by classmate Charles Harris of Middletown, N.J.
“Live each day to the fullest, there are no refunds,” said Seidler, now 73, of his most important lessons from his life filled with travel and adventure.
A graduate of Cornell, Seidler completed graduate school at the University of Washington then joined the U.S. Army.
“Whoopie,” wrote Seidler, of his military time.
After getting married, he said he worked on “Madison Avenue” and became a forest fire lookout in the Williamette National Forest before becoming a playwright in residence at the San Francisco Actor’s Workshop.
After getting divorced, Seidler went back to Madison Avenue and wrote dubbing scripts for “Godzilla The Monster” movies, according to Seidler’s directory entry.
Seidler said he then went to Fiji, New Zealand and Australia and worked as an assistant director on a TV series before becoming “a semi-hermit” on an undisclosed tropical isle.
After getting married a second time, he lived in Woodstock and in an Oregon forest before becoming a political advisor to the prime minister of Fiji.
He also lived in New Zealand and worked in advertising before getting divorced a second time.
Seidler “returned to America, became a Hollywood screenwriter and got married for the third time,” wrote Seidler. “That about sums it up.”
Another 1955 classmate remembered Seidler’s adroitness.
“I do recall one situation that impressed me in a biology class in high school. David grew tomatoes using toxic ingredients in the soil versus another group grown in natural soil,” said C.J. Abraham, a Great Neck doctor and former classmate of Seidler. “The poisoned tomatoes were distorted and irregular. Although a simple experiment, I thought it was very clever at that time and a very good demonstration.”
Abraham said he also sat next to 1956 Great Neck High School graduate Francis Ford Coppola in English, but “nothing rubbed off.”
Seidler listed two children, Marc and Maya, and his wife Jacqueline on the directory entry which was filled out in 2005.
He said the one thing he would still like to do “is to see a liberal in the White House,” obviously written before the 2008 presidential election.
And it might surprise you to know, said Seidler, “I have some pleasant memories of high school. That, of course, may be a side benefit of early onset of senility.”
Seidler became the oldest writer to win an Oscar for best original screenplay when he received the Academy Award during the 83rd Academy Awards Ceremony in Hollywood Feb. 28.