Acting teacher Tom Todoroff is requesting former students and friends of his colleague Michael Shurtleff send letters and notes of encouragement to the ailing acting instructor.
Shurteff, 86, was attacked by several youths and pushed down a flight of stairs outside Laemmle's Sunset 5 movie theatre in West Hollywood in April. Police and Shurteff have called the act a hate crime. As a result, he has had several surgeries, been confined to a wheelchair, and was diagnosed with inoperable cancer two weeks ago. Todoroff says he has only days to live.
Todoroff released a letter from Shurleff late Monday:
Dear Class of Tom Todoroff:
It was kind and thoughtful of you to make up such an engaging package and cards for me. I cannot tell you how touched I was. Being confined to my room makes your package and cards doubly a lovely gift.
Tom and I were planning for me to come some night to teach, but now that I am doomed to be a cripple the rest of my life, I can't go anywhere (except those necessary doctor visits) and am confined to spend my remaining days with no freedom to go out into the world. Thank you again for your thoughtfulness. It means a great deal to me. I think of you using the Guideposts in your work and it makes life worthwhile.
Shurtleff has served as casting director and/or casting consultant for shows such as the original Broadway production of Chicago in 1975 and for films including The Graduate, Jesus Christ Superstar, and 1776. He is the author of several classic books on the craft of acting, including Audition: Everything an Actor Needs to Know to Get the Part. His play, Come to the Palace of Sin was produced off-Broadway in 1963.
Todoroff asks letters to Shurteff be sent to:
6619 Cahuenga Terrace
Hollywood, CA 90068
Todoroff will also forward emails sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
-- Lauren Horwitch