TRIBUTE/RIP: NANCY HEREFORD, R.I.P

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NANCY HEREFORD, R.I.P

This is one of the saddest tributes I’ve ever written. Last week brought the shocking news that lovely Nancy Hereford, who had retired a mere two years ago from her almost four-decades-long post as Press Director of Center Theatre Group, was no longer on this level of life. I literally had to read the post several times in order to wrap my head around that it was indeed the Los Angeles theatre community’s ever-smiling Nancy who was the one we had lost.

Nancy Hereford with her old boss, the late great Gordon Davidson.  I can just imagine the high class theatre conversations they'll have now in heaven!

Nancy Hereford with her old boss, the late great Gordon Davidson. I can just imagine the high class theatre conversations they’ll have now in heaven!

As a member of the press, I don’t often have much interaction with the PR people at the events I attend; they’re way too busy for deep conversation. So I’m content to just say a quick hello while picking-up my tickets or such, and be on my way. But it was not like that at all with Nancy Hereford. I always looked forward to seeing her cheerful visage, knowing that she was genuinely happy to greet me. Or at least she made me feel that way. But I do think that she was really delighted to see all of us, as we her.

What has always really stood-out to me whenever I’ve thought about Nancy is that she was the only recipient of my holiday gifts who ever sent me handwritten thank you notes! Always. (Some of the others emailed, a practice I do myself, but that’s just not the same.) Even though it was not at all necessary for her to do so, I found myself looking for her missives in my mailbox. And the cards she chose were always beautiful, as well, which I know was not by chance—they reflected Nancy’s attitude toward life.

I also was a big fan of Nancy’s beautiful long thick hair. I got a kick out of that whenever we saw each other, we’d talk about how we few gals who were still rocking long hair had to stick together. (Of course, “rocking” is my word; Nancy spoke on a much higher level than that!)

Nancy Hereford.  Photo courtesy of CTG Press Department.

Nancy Hereford. Photo courtesy of CTG Press Department.

I didn’t know her well, but Nancy was a business acquaintance for very many years. I reviewed her CTG shows about ten times a year for a couple of decades. And I swear, I never saw her display even the slightest amount of tension from her high-powered job. We always met on opening nights at either the Ahmanson, the Taper, or the Douglas, occasions that can be really stressful for the PR people, but she never once brushed me aside or just handed me my tickets. There was always an upbeat exchange, no matter how brief, which I assume was the case with all her media guests. I really credit her for that bit of calmness.

And I always appreciated that Nancy was the only other person besides me whom I’ve ever known who loved, loved, loved the rain. That not-popular affinity alone made us totally simpatico.

And now it’s truly pouring in all the hearts of everyone who knew her.

RIP, Nancy Hereford.

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2 Comments

  1. I only learned this sad news today, October 27, from my wife, who just ready of Nancy’s passing while she was casually looking up LA theater stories on the internet.

    I hadn’t seen or talked with Nancy for many years. Too many years. There had been a time when we talked several times a week and would meet down at the Taper. I was in charge of producing all the entertainment news stories for KCBS-TV News from 1980 into 1975, and in that time did many stories about Taper productions. She was always so sweet, so smart, so easy to talk with, and I so enjoyed my years of collaborating with her.

    As often happens, life changes. I went on to new jobs, had kids, bought a house, lost jobs…and suddenly 30 years had passed since I had contact with Nancy. Over the summer, her name rolled through my mind and I thought that it was time to find her and resume our relationship. I saw she was still connected with the Center Theater Group, but then had to face some health problems of my own, which had me hospitalized for a time and suddenly my mind was on other things.

    And then, five minutes ago, my wife gasps and tells me the news. And I felt crappy for not having made contact before it was too late for me to tell her how much of an impact she had upon my life.

    So thank you for this beautiful remembrance and tribute. I just wish I had been able to say hello…

    Joel Sanoff

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