Monday, April 04, 2005

What will Gene Greytak do?

Gene Greytak and Pope John Paul II

Just before my wife and I began our power walk though Hollywood, we heard the news that Pope John Paul II was near death. Donna started to tell me about seeing the Pope on one of his many U.S. visits. I asked Donna, "What will the actor who plays the Pope do?" She said, "Well he had a 26 year run". She also commented that, "Only in Hollywood could someone ask that question". I reminded her of the famous "What will Vaughn Meader do?" She didn't know what I was talking about. Of course she's much too young to know what I was talking about.

When we got home, I went online to find who this actor who plays the Pope. His name is Gene Greytak and he has his own web site. Mr. Greytak and Pope John Paul II have a lot in common.
Both men are Catholic, however Gene has been married for 53 years.
Both their mothers are Slovac.
Both men have their vestments (Pope Garb) made at the same place, and the are the exact same size!
Gene has had the blessing to impersonate the Pope for over 17 years and carries and official letter of permission from the Vatican.

His movies credits include:
Sister Act
Hot Shots
Pretty Woman
Naked Gun 33 1/3
It's the Ticket

His TV credits include:
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
Everybody Loves Raymond
Picket Fences
The Golden Girls
Night Court
In Living Color
Geraldo Rivera
Phil Donahue
Arsenio Hall
Comic Relief

Gene has also done many commercials, print work, personal appearances (including countless religious functions), and wherever he goes, he is always asked for a blessing.
I was worried that it may be inappropriate to write about this so soon. My wife reminded me that I was writing about a living actor and not a recently deceased religious leader.

If you (like my wife) are not familiar with "What will Vaughn Meader do?" Vaughn Meader was a comedian who did a perfect John F. Kennedy impression and sold many of copies of an LP called The First Family. A week after J.F.K.’s assignation, Lenny Bruce was booked into a theatre on the Lower East Side of New York. The audience wondered, what would he say? How can he say anything at a time like this? Lenny Bruce came out and stared at the audience. He unscrewed the mike and walked away from the spotlight. He stared at the audience, paced up and down the stage, and stared at the audience again. And what he said was this quote, "Vaughn Meader is screwed!"

Gene Greytak is a blessing in disguise.

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

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