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Alexander Scourby - JPop.com
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Alexander Scourby

Alexander Scourby

Alexander Scourby


Early life Alexander Scourby was born in Brooklyn, New York on November 13, 1913, to Constantine Nicholas, a successful restaurateur, wholesale baker and sometime investor in independent motion-pictures, and Betsy Scourby (née Patsakos), a homemaker, both of whom were immigrants from Greece. Raised in Brooklyn, Scourby was a member of a Boy Scout troop and later became a cadet with the 101st National Guard Cavalry Regiment. He attended public and private schools in Brooklyn Read more on Last.fm
Early life Alexander Scourby was born in Brooklyn, New York on November 13, 1913, to Constantine Nicholas, a successful restaurateur, wholesale baker and sometime investor in independent motion-pictures, and Betsy Scourby (née Patsakos), a homemaker, both of whom were immigrants from Greece. Raised in Brooklyn, Scourby was a member of a Boy Scout troop and later became a cadet with the 101st National Guard Cavalry Regiment. He attended public and private schools in Brooklyn, spending summer vacations in New Jersey, upstate New York, and at a cousin's home in Massachusetts. Dismissed from Polytechnic Prep School, he finished his secondary education at Brooklyn Manual Training High School, which he described as "an ordinary high school that had an awful lot of shop." Scourby was a co-editor of the magazine and yearbook, and he envisioned a career in writing, though he later came to realize that writing was, for him, "absolutely the most painful thing in the world" and also that he "could never meet a deadline," whereas he found the reading aloud of plays easy and enjoyable. Encouraged by some of his teachers, he began to turn his attention to acting.

He made his stage debut with the high school's dramatic society, as the juvenile in Augustin MacHugh's The Meanest Man in the World. Early career Upon graduation from high school in 1931, Scourby, not yet having abandoned the prospect of a writing career, entered West Virginia University at Morgantown to study journalism. During his first semester he joined the campus drama group and played a minor role in A. A. Milne's comedy Mr.

Pim Passes By. In February 1932, as he was beginning his second semester, his father died, and he left the university to help run the family's pie bakery in Brooklyn. A month after Scourby returned to Brooklyn, he was accepted as an apprentice at Eva Le Gallienne's Civic Repertory Theatre on 14th Street in downtown Manhattan. At the Civic Repertory he was taught dancing, speech, and make-up, and was given his first professional role, a walk-on in Liliom. In 1933, Scourby and other Civic Repertory apprentices joined together to form the Apprentice Theatre, which presented plays at the New School for Social Research in New York City during the 1933-34 season. Scourby's first role on Broadway was that of the player king in Leslie Howard's production of Hamlet, which opened at the Imperial Theatre on November 10, 1936 and went on tour after thirty-nine performances.

Returning to New York—and unemployment—in the spring of 1937, Scourby was introduced to the American Foundation for the Blind's Talking Book program by Wesley Addy, a member of the Hamlet cast and Scourby's roommate on the tour, who was regularly recording plays for the foundation. After a successful audition in the spring of 1937, Scourby was cast in a small part in a recording of Antony and Cleopatra. During the following summer he was, again, the player king in a production of Hamlet in Dennis, Massachusetts that featured Eva Le Gallienne. When he returned to audition for the American Foundation for the Blind later in the year he was told that the company of actors was "filled" but that he might record a novel if he wished.

"That was the beginning of it," he recalled years later, adding, "The recordings for the blind are perhaps my greatest achievement. Most of the things I look back at in the theater were either insignificant parts in great plays or good parts in terrible plays. So it really doesn't amount to anything. Whereas I have recorded some great books.

The greatest one being the Bible." King James recordings Scourby was the first person to record the King James Bible on long play records in the 1950s. He originally narrated the Old and New Testament of the King James Version for the American Foundation for the Blind and it took over four years to complete, finishing in 1953. Their original goal was to produce a clean, clear recording for visually impaired listeners. The American Bible Society distributed the recordings as The Talking Bible, a set of 169 records with a running time of 84.5 hours. Scourby and religion Although Scourby made voice recordings of over 500 different books, he considered the Bible to be his most important.

He describes why in the following letter. “...it is the one book that has the power to inspire, encourage, comfort and change the life of the person who hears it. I know this because during the many years since I narrated the Bible, numerous people have written thanking me for creating such a beautiful reading. I have been greatly humbled and moved by the many letters I have received from people around the world telling me how God used the Bible narrations to change their lives and the lives of their loved ones, encourage them in their hour of need, and even healed them as they listened to the Words of Life." Scourby had been baptized as a Greek Orthodox and married in an Episcopalian church. Read more on Last.fm.

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