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Len Sampson

Leonard “Len” SAMPSON2007

Name
Leonard “Len” SAMPSON
Given names
Leonard
Nickname
Len
Surname
SAMPSON
Hebrew
לאונרד סמפסון
Birth
Detroit, Michigan, USA - דטרויט, ארה"ב

Residence 1930 (5690)
Detroit, Michigan, USA - דטרויט, ארה"ב

Death April 16, 2007 (Nissan 28, 5767)
Seattle, Washington, USA - סיאטל,ארה"ב

Note: Len Sampson, an entertainer, fundraiser, raconteur devoted time to raising money for charities.

SourceLina Gilis Zatzman - personal testimony
Death
Len Sampson, an entertainer, fundraiser, raconteur devoted time to raising money for charities. Newspaper Obituary and Death Notice Seattle Times, The (WA) - April 29, 2007 Deceased Name: Len Sampson, an entertainer, fundraiser Raconteur devoted time to raising money for charities Obituary Len Sampson — former Seattle television talk-show host, actor, singer, dancer, charity fundraiser and man about town — was perhaps best known for yet another role: raconteur. He always had a story to tell. There was the time he played a guest villain on the TV show "The Big Valley" and got to shoot at Barbara Stanwyck. Or the time he supposedly gave Bette Midler her chance in the spotlight. The stories, told in his deep, distinctive voice, never failed to entertain, even if — for entertainment's sake — some may have been slightly embellished. "He had done so many crazy, incredible things that although he embellished them, it was mainly an embellishment in the color around the edges," said Jim Burdwell, a friend of Mr. Sampson's. "Because the stories were largely true." In turn, everyone had stories about Mr. Sampson. "Just about anyone you talked to had a gazillion Len stories," Burdwell said. Mr. Sampson died April 16 at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System, the hospital on Beacon Hill. He was 77 and had been battling thyroid cancer. Even as a child, Mr. Sampson wanted to be an entertainer, winning a regional amateur song-and-dance contest, said his younger brother, Al Sampson, of Memphis. After his family moved from Detroit to Los Angeles, where Mr. Sampson's mother worked as a milliner on movie sets, Mr. Sampson signed on as a child actor with Columbia Pictures. Over the years, he worked in radio, movies, television and on stage, appearing with the likes of Midler, Don Ho and Pat Boone. The story of how Mr. Sampson "discovered" Midler goes like this, according to Burdwell: Midler was in the chorus of a show Mr. Sampson was starring in. When one of the principals got sick, so the story goes, Mr. Sampson recommended that she fill in. Mr. Sampson arrived in Seattle in the mid-1960s to play Henry Higgins in a production of "My Fair Lady" at the Cirque Playhouse. He stayed. In Seattle, he hosted "The Len Sampson Show," a morning talk show that aired on KOMO from around 1968 to 1973. Mr. Sampson, an avid reader, was interested in many subjects and had a knack for putting his guests — local personalities as well as visiting authors, actors and musicians — at ease. "Guests liked him because he was on their wavelengths," said Barbara Reilly, who produced Mr. Sampson's show. Most people liked him because "he was wild. He was wonderful. He had a wonderful sense of humor," Reilly said. Once, in preparation for a segment with ice skater Richard Dwyer, Mr. Sampson donned a pair of roller skates and, practicing in the halls of KOMO, ran into the CEO. Mr. Sampson was also heavily involved in local charities, hosting telethons for the Variety Club and United Cerebral Palsy, and working on behalf of the Providence Foundation, the centennial of Seattle's city parks, the Alzheimer's Association Memory Walk and the North End Emergency Fund. He would come up with elaborate schemes to help the groups. Once, when he and Burdwell were roommates living across the street from an abandoned building with boarded-up windows, Burdwell jokingly said it would be nice if the boards had paintings on them. "The next thing I knew, he had 12 graduate students from Cornish College of the Arts painting scenes," Burdwell said. Mr. Sampson then took donations from people to view the paintings from their apartment — with the proceeds benefiting the Children's Museum. Said his friend, June Sumpter, who helped found the Providence Foundation: "Working with Len was like having one big party." In addition to his brother, Mr. Sampson is survived by his son, Bruce Rosen, of Seal Beach, Calif. A private memorial is being held, and a larger public gathering is being planned. For information, e-mail samlen@comcast.net. Remembrances may be sent to: North End Emergency Fund, 7001 24th Ave. N.W., Seattle, WA., 98117. Len Sampson hosted a morning talk show on KOMO TV from 1968 to 1973.Author: Janet I. Tu Edition: Fourth Page: B6 Copyright (c) 2007 The Seattle Times Added by Bill Sklar - October 2011.