To commemorate 75 years of memorable performances, we present a list of 75 of Thorne Hall's most celebrated visitors
On Dec. 9, 1947, a $5 ticket bought theatergoers a seat for "The Pepsodent Show Starring Bob Hope," which promised the Thorne Hall audience "One hour and 45 minutes of Peerless Entertainment" featuring Hope, comedians Vera Vague and Jerry Colonna, and Les Brown and His Orchestra. While that show was a benefit for the Occidental College War Memorial Fund, many more entertainers came to Oxy in the decades to follow under the auspices of the Artist Series, which ran from the 1950s through the 1980s with an annual budget of about $12,000 (which was designed to accommodate five or six performances). Half a century ago, "you could get the Budapest String Quartet for $950, and the entire Los Angeles Philharmonic for $2,750," says Omar Paxson '48, who sat on the Artist Series Committee. To commemorate 75 years of memorable performances, we present to you a list of 75 of Thorne's most celebrated visitors—even if some of them defy easy categorization.
Actors Helen Gahagan & Melvyn Douglas (1939) * Pianist Arthur Rubinstein (1941) * Opera SInger Ezio Pinza (1941) "Charlie McCarthy Show" Radio Broadcast (1947) * Guitarist Andrés Segovia (1948) * Opera Singer Marian Anderson (1949) * Actor Charles Laughton (1951) * Actors Raymond Massey, Tyrone Power, & Dame Judith Anderson (1953) * Opera Singer Robert Merrill (1954) * Vienna Boys Choir (1955, 1961) * Opera Singer Leontyne Price (1957) * Actor Hal Holbrook (1961) * Violinist Isaac Stern (1964) * Conductor Zubin Mehta (1968) * Choreographer Alvin Ailey (1969) * Actor/Playwright Emlyn Williams (1972) * Mimes Robert Shields and Lorene Yarnell (1974) * Singer Linda Ronstadt (1974) * Mime Troupe Mummenschanz (1976) * Composer Aaron Copland (1977) * Actor William Windom (1977, 1981) * Bella Lewitzky Dance Company (1978, 1983, 1987) * Actress Fionnula Flanagan (1979) * Actors Ruby Dee & Ossie Davis (1980) * Chinese Magic Circus of Taiwan (1983) * Violinist Joshua Bell (1985) * Royal Shakespeare Theatre (1985) * Indian Classical Instrumentalist Hariprasad Chawrasia (1990) * Jazz Pianist Marcus Roberts (1994) * Actor Edward James Olmos (1997) * Singer Harry Belafonte (2007) * Violinist Hilary Hahn (2007) * Opera Singer Frederica von Stade (2010)
Vice President Richard Nixon (1956) * Former Russian Provisional Government Premier Alexander Kerensky (1958) * Oregon Gov. Mark Hatfield (1963) * California Gov. Edmund G. Brown (1964) * California Lieut. Gov. Robert H. Finch '47 (1967) * U.N. Undersecretary-General Ralph Bunche (1969) * New York City Mayor John Lindsay (1970) * U.S. Sen. George McGovern (1976) * U.S. Congressman John Anderson (1981) * Former Costa Rica President Oscar Arias Sanchez (1991) * Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan (1993)
U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice William O. Douglas (1949) * Anthropologist Margaret Mead (1954, 1958) * Theologian Paul Tillich (1960) * Anthropologist Ashley Montagu (1961) * Former U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren (1971) * Population Biologist Paul Erlich (1973) * Primatologist Jane Goodall (1975, 2004, 2010) * Former U.S. Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders (1995) * Coach John Wooden (2005) * Artists Christo & Jeanne-Claude (2011)
Saturday Review Editor Norman Cousins (1958) * Poet Robert Frost (1960) * Poet/Author Mark Van Doren (1962) * Author Erica Jong (1975) * Literary Critic Henry Louis Gates Jr. (1995) * Novelist Alice Walker (1997) * Novelist Amy Tan (1997) * Playwright/Actress Anna Deavere Smith (1999) * Playwright Tony Kushner (1999) * Journalist Bill Moyers (2007) * Author Anne Lamott (2007) * Fast Food Nation Author Eric Schlosser (2011)
Civil Rights Leader Martin Luther King Jr. (1967) * United Farm Workers President Cesar Chavez (1975) * Political Activist Tom Hayden (1976) * Actress Jane Fonda (1978) * Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1990) * Social Activist Julian Bond (1991) * Filmmaker Oliver Stone (1996) * Activist Angela Davis (1998) * Filmmaker Michael Moore (2003)