Information about this website
and the people who run it
TheColumnists.com was launched as an independent web magazine on Dec. 1, 1999. It's operated as a cooperative. Each columnist retains the copyright and full ownership of his or her columns and is totally responsible for the content of those columns. Inquiries about use of our original material should be made to the individual columnists via the TALKBACK
email system or by writing to:
5437 Canvasback Rd.
Blaine, WA, 98230, USA.
Murry Frymer, Ron Miller, Gerald Nachman, John Stanley
Managing Editor: Ron Miller
HOW WE OPERATE
TheColumnists.com was created to give established writers a new online venue where they could write what they wanted to write without concern for advertiser demands, demographics, censorship or any other restrictions upon their creativity except the normal requirement to not libel anyone. Most of the writers involved in this collaborative effort are retired newspaper columnists, feature writers or editors who wanted to continue reaching their large readership through the Internet. The work of our celebrity columnists is NOT ghostwritten and is entirely their own work.
The DARK CORRIDORS mystery section is entirely owned and operated by Ron Miller, though others may write for it.
TheColumnists.com was organized as an affiliation of independent writers. Columns, articles or illustrations are submitted to the managing editor, who incorporates their work into future editions. Each writer has advance approval of the final content, style and presentation of his or her work before it is posted to this website. Columnists, editors and other contributors receive no salaries, but are free to market their work elsewhere once it appears on this website. Freelance submissions are not accepted. Most new columnists who join the group are invited by current members of the staff. Writers interested in joining the group without prior invitation may contact us by using the Talkback email feature on this website. You will be asked to submit samples of your work, a biographical sketch and a resume of your professional background via email. Product advertising is not accepted. All requests for information about our policies should be made through the TALKBACK email system on this website.
REGULAR COLUMNISTS (USA):
Joanne Engelhardt (CA)
Bucky Fox (CA)
Sid Frigand (NY)
Murry Frymer (CA)
Gina Gallo (NV)
Patricia J. Geister
Donna J. Plesh
REGULAR COLUMNISTS (GLOBAL)
Robert Taylor...London, England
James Bawden...Toronto, Canada
Kenneth Dreyfack...Paris, France
THE COLUMNISTS.COM also has published the work of many "guest columnists" whose columns remain in our archives.
Meet the Columnists
MURRY FRYMER has written for The New York Times, was Viewpoint Editor, editorial writer and critic for Newsday ; a senior editor at The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Boston Herald-American and Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle; critic and columnist for the San Jose Mercury News. Other credits: Author, lyricist, off-Broadway musical, Four by Night; author, They're Coming For My Mattress; regular columnist, San Jose Magazine.
RON MILLER was TV Editor, San Jose Mercury News, and syndicated columnist, Knight Ridder Newspapers, 1977-99. He was national president of the Television Critics Assn. in 1981 and has written articles and fiction for scores of national publications, including TV Guide. He's the author of Mystery! A Celebration (1986), official companion book to the PBS series, and co-author of Masterpiece Theatre (1985). Other credits: the Case Book column, PBS' Mystery! website. He is the television columnist for MYSTERY SCENE magazine. He has taught courses in mystery, movies and television with the Academy for Lifelong Learning at Western Washington University and Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, WA, and has been a program host for the American Museum of Radio and Electricity in Bellingham, WA, where he has donated his large collection of radio-related movies amd television programs.
GERALD NACHMAN has been a critic, columnist and reporter for more than 40 years, working for the San Francisco Chronicle, the New York Daily News, Oakland Tribune, New York Post, San Jose Mercury and TheaterWeek Magazine. He's authored several books, including Out On A Whim, The Fragile Bachelor, Playing House, Raised on Radio and Seriously Funny: The Rebel Comedians of the 1950s and 1960s. He has co-authored three musical revues: Quirks, Aftershocks and New Wrinkles. He also won a New York Page One Award and ASCAPs Deems Taylor Award for a series of articles on Broadway songwriters--and has served on the Pulitzer prize best-play jury. He is a frequent TV and radio guest. Nachman is now working on his next non-fiction book about Ed Sullivan and his famous TV variety program.
JOHN STANLEY is the renowned "Creature Features" TV host and expert on horror, sci-fi and fantasy films whose Creature Features Movie Guide is now a standard resource for film buffs. He was a writer-editor for The San Francisco Chronicle for 33 years. Stanley wrote the novel World War III (1976), the Edgar-nominated mystery The Dark Side (1977), and the non-fiction book Them Ornery Mitchum Boys. Through his Creatures at Large publishing company, Stanley printed Robert Bloch's Lost in Time and Space with Lefty Feep (1987). He also wrote and directed the feature film "Nightmare in Blood" (1976). Since retiring from the Chronicle in 1993, Stanley has continued to review films, make crossword puzzles for TV Guide publications and work as an Elderhostel instructor, specializing in classes about the world of entertainment. In 2007, he provided the expert audio narration for Fox's "Island in the Sun" DVD and published his latest book, "I Was A TV Horror Movie Host."
JIM HUMMEL's work is as good as it gets in the category of illustrative art. He's the illustrator of the 2005 best seller "Hey, Mom! There Are Liberals Under My Bed." The veteran artist, illustrator and cartoonist has been syndicated by Copley News Service and the Associated Press. He has illustrated for Marvel Comics and currently draws for San Jose Magazine, where one of his assignments is illustrating Murry Frymer's column. A former art instructor for San Jose State University, he has won numerous awards from such organizations as the Society of Illustrators, Society of Publication Design and the Society of Newspaper Design.
MAURY ALLEN is the author of 30 books, including the current "All Roads Lead to October," and more than 5,000 magazine articles. He was a New York Post sports columnist for 28 years; sports columnist for Gannett newspapers for 10 years and is a former Sports Illustrated reporter. Says Allen, "With my trusty calculator, I figured out that I have created something well in excess of two million words in print in my 50 years in journalism." Allen is also the editor of the annual New York Baseball Writers Dinner Journal magazine. Two of his books have been bestsellers: "Where Have You Gone, Joe DiMaggio?" (1975) and his 1978 biography of Casey Stengel, "You Could Look It Up."
RAPHAELLA CRUZ is a graphic artist, writer, athlete and coach living just
outside of Boston. She recently completed a masters in education
at Boston University. She has written columns and reported for various local
newspapers and is now branching out into fiction writing. She's prominently featured in the non-fiction book about female boxers, "Without Apology," by
Leah Hager Cohen. Raphaella is the daughter of our European columnist
Michael Johnson. She's the mother of a son, Michael.
JOANNE ENGELHARDT admits to re-prioritizing her priorities after leaving Hewlett-Packard in August 2000. I was a journalist, writer, editor and marcom manager for 40 years. Now I consider myself an actor first, writer second. Not that Ill ever out-Hepburn Katherine, you understand. Its just that now that Ive had a taste of performing in live (community) theatre, I find it exciting, scary and rewarding--at least when I remember my lines. Although writing has taken a back seat to performing, Joanne says she still needs to put potato salad on her table, so she has a modest freelance writing and editing business on the side. Way back in the Stone Age, Joanne was a reporter for The Palo Alto Times. She is a journalism graduate of San Jose State University.
BUCKY FOX earned a B.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri in 1977 and has spent more than a quarter century working as a reporter, columnist and editor in both Europe and the U.S. From 1980-99, he worked for European Stars and Stripes in a variety of jobs, including assistant European desk editor, weekly sports magazine editor, Sunday magazine editor and sports reporter. He has served as sports editor for the Carlisle, Pa., Sentinel, and was a sportswriter for the Beaumont, Tx. Enterprise & Journal. As a freelance writer, he has been published in the Washington Post, Detroit Free Press, Santa Rosa Press Democrdat, Seattle Times, Seattle Post-Intelligencer and numerous European magazines. He joined the staff of TheColumnists.com in January, 2004.
SID FRIGAND began his writing career with the Brooklyn Eagle in 1948, was a member of the team that won the 1951 Pulitzer Prize for exposing corruption in New York City and was a columnist there when the paper folded in 1955. He has written for the New York Times, Show Magazine, Coronet and many other publications. In 1956, he began a new career in public affairs, holding many key positions, including press secretary to New York City Mayor Abraham Beame (1974-77) and Asst. Executive Director /Public Affairs Director, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (1978-91). Frigand also has extensive experience as an educator, including a stint as faculty associate at The New School University, and visiting lecturer assignments at NYU, Manhattan College, Baruch School, Brooklyn College, Long Island University School of Journalism and Washington and Jefferson College.
GINA GALLO is a Chicago native, but she has also lived in New York and Honolulu. Before she became a Chicago cop, Gina was a roller-skating waitress in a piano bar on Waikiki Beach. Undoubtedly, that toughened her up a bit for patrol duty. She also has worked as a muralist in stained glass, as a designer of flower exhibits and is also a psychologist. From her experience as a street cop on Chicago's tough west side, Gallo wrote her true-life book from St. Martin's press, Armed and Dangerous, which was developed as a television series by the UPN network, but never went into production. Gallo is also a skilled fiction writer and has contributed several stories to our DARK CORRIDORS pages.
Patricia J. Geister
PATRICIA J. GEISTER says, "Imagination is the most active muscle in my body." She began thinking about becoming a writer from the first time she saw the "Brenda Starr" comic strip in the Sunday paper. The Kansas native started writing for federal government publications and for private industry and, for a short time, worked for an Air Force investigational agency. Now based in Seattle, Washington, Geister has written for many publications as a freelancer and in 2001 published her first novel, "Say Good Night to the Moon." She joined www.thecolumnists.com writers group in early 2002.
Prof. Gordon Greb holds an honorary degree from the London Institute of Applied Research for humorous writing, but he says he doesn't like to be called "Doc" for fear he'll be called upon to deliver a baby in an emergency situation some day.
He was a reporter and editor for newspapers, then became a radio and television newsman, working for ABC, CBS and NBC, before joining the faculty at San Jose State University. His peers named him a "distinguished broadcast educator" during his 35 years there. (He's now an SJSU emeritus professor.) He's the co-author of "Charles Herrold: Inventor of Radio Broadcasting" (McFarland, 2003) and a noted civil libertarian whose research helped the U.S. Supreme Court overturn movie censorship in 1952 with the crucial case, Burstyn v. Wilson, et al. He now calls himself "a recovering academic" that former student Gerald Nachman said, in a recent Newsweek article, is "much funnier and hip" today, in his 80s, than he was in college. His colleagues at TheColumnists
include former students Gerald Nachman, Ron Miller, Michael Johnson, Joyce Kiefer, Elias Castillo and Joanne Engelhardt.
PAUL HERTELENDY is the former music critic for the Oakland Tribune and San Jose Mercury News, now in his third year writing for and managing the San Francisco Bay Area cultural affairs website www.artssf.com. He also is the author of five volumes of poetry, the latest being the upcoming "Too Good To Last." In 2000, he was named Poet Laureate by the national board of the mithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Hertelendy was born in Eastern Europe, but raised in Washington, D.C. He speaks four languages fluently and two others "badly." He has a Ph.D. in engineering from the University of Calif., Berkeley; an MSE from Stanford University and a BSE from Princeton. He has chaired several non-profit organizations in the Bay Area, including the Chinese Cultural Center and, currently, the Lawrence Hall of Science. He has served six years on the board of the Smithsonian. Hertelendy, his wife, Martha, and their familylive in Piedmont, Calif. In 2002, he was named Poet Laureate of this website.
STAN ISAACS is a former Newsday sports and feature columnist. He wrote the popular column, "Out of Left Field" which won a National Headliners Award. He is an Eastern District H.S. and Brooklyn College, '50 Alumnus. He had a one-year National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship at Stanford University. He worked for the Daily Compass before Newsday and wrote a column for the ESPN page on the Internet. His acclaimed Isaacs Ratings of Esoteric Distinction (which include the famed Chocolate Ice Cream evaluations) now appear annually in the Anniversary edition of this website. Isaacs says, "My memoir of a 50-year writing career called 'Out of Left Field: A Sporting Life' is out there waiting for an intrepid publisher to take it to its bosom." He and his wife recently moved to Haverford, a suburb of Philadelphia, PA. They have three daughters and four grandchildren. Stan says his greatest regret is that he never hit a ball over a fence for a home run in his career as a softball hitter on the playing fields of Brooklyn."
ANN JILLIAN has added writing to her many accomplishments as a star
of stage, screen and television. In show business since childhood when
she first appeared on Art Linkletter's TV show, Jillian played Little Bo Peep
in Disney's Babes in Toyland, then was Dainty June in Gypsy with Natalie
Wood. In her teens, she appeared in such classic TV shows as Twilight Zone,
Ben Casey and Hazel. She made her Broadway debut in 1979 in the original company of Sugar Babies with Mickey Rooney and Ann Miller. Jillian has
starred in three network series: It's A Living, Jennifer Slept Here and
The Ann Jillian Series. She's starred in more than 25 movies and miniseries
and earned Emmy nominations for three TV movies: Ellis Island, Mae West
and The Ann Jillian Story. She won the Golden Globe for the latter, playing
herself in the story of her victory over breast cancer, scoring the highest
ratings of any TV movie of the 1987-88 TV season. Jillian's courageous fight against cancer led her into a new career as an inspirational speaker.
She has her own website at: www.AnnJillian.com
MICHAEL JOHNSON, who recently moved from London, England, to the wine country of France, started his professional life as a reporter at the Hayward (Calif.) Daily Review in 1960. He then joined the Associated Press, which sent him to Charleston, West Va., New York and Moscow, where he covered the beginning of the end of Soviet communism. A few years later he was in Paris writing for Business Week, and subsequently went to London as editor of International Management magazine. From 1992-2002, he worked in public relations, most recently as Director of Corporate Communications for ICO Global Communications in London. In 2001, TheColumnists.com printed two series of excerpts from books in progress by Johnson: Deer Crick Diaries, his reminiscences of his youth in Delphi, Indiana, and Reporting the News from A Police State, his memoirs as a foreign correspondent in Moscow. They were so well-received that Johnson was invited to begin his series of Letters from London. He now writes our EYE ON EUROPE column. His columns appear frequently in the International Herald Tribune
JOYCE KIEFER studied journalism with several members of TheColumnists.com editorial staff at San Jose State University and worked on the campus daily newspaper with the likes of Ron Miller, Gerald Nachman, Elias Castillo and Michael Johnson. Joyce is now an event planner at the Center for Professional Development at Stanford University. She has written promotional material and newsletters for the university.
CHUCK McFADDEN knows the political scene extremely well--and loves to poke fun at it with his humorous columns. He's a former Associated Press reporter
who covered the Reagan administration in Sacramento. He also has worked in government--as an assistant to former California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Wilson Riles and retired in 2003 as official spokesman for the University of California. A graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara, Chuck began his journalism career as a radio reporter in his home town--Santa Cruz, Calif. He recently completed his first novel--a political insider's view of state government--and is currently working on a second draft.
ANDY MURCIA was an often decorated Chicago police sergeant, who retired
from police work to manage the career of his wife, Ann Jillian, the glamorous entertainer who's also a vital member of our writing staff. Andy met her when
she was visiting Chicago while touring with Sammy Cahn's "Words & Music" and he was providing security at her hotel. Their love story was re-created in "The Ann Jillian Story," the highest-rated TV movie of the 1987-88 TV season. Andy was portrayed on screen by actor Tony Lo Bianco. Murcia has co-authored the book Man To Man: When The Woman You Love Has Breast Cancer and made his debut as a columnist in our Christmas, 2001, edition. The Murcias are the
first husband-wife team to write for this web site.
ANDREW PENNER is a 10-year Class A member of the Canadian Professional Golfers' Association. He lives in Calgary, Alberta, with his wife and young son. When he's not teaching or playing golf, he's writing for numerous publications in Canada and the US. His work has been featured in publications such as FHM, World Golf, Inside Golf, Chicken Soup For The Golfers' Soul, Washington Golf Monthly, Above & Beyond, and many more. His self-syndicated humor column, titled "Plugged In The Hazard," takes a satirical look at golf related topics that are rarely written about. A number of editors have dubbed him the "Dave Barry
of the golf world." His new book is "One Flew Over the Caddy Shack."
Donna J. Plesh
DONNA J. PLESH is a native of Cleveland, Ohio, and a graduate of the School of Journalism at Ohio State University. During her newspaper career she has been
a feature writer, copy editor, copy desk slot person, sports writer, education writer, city hall reporter, entertainment writer, television critic and television writer. She most recently worked on the TV magazine staff of the Orange
County Register and helps cover the television scene for TheColumnists.com.
ROBERT TAYLOR is a graduate of Oxford University who discovered the joy of
writing in Sri Lanka where he wrote scripts for English language television
programs. Now living back in the UK, he runs his own copywriting and public
relations company. In whatever spare time he gets, Rob is writing his first
novel. Taylor likes to write about unfashionable causes such as the men's
civil rights movement, the benefits of being English and the reasons why
Margaret Thatcher was 'a good thing.' He lives in London.
AUDREY YEAGER is a freelance writer and columnist living in the Pacific Northwest. Her outlook on life is warm, humorous and often sentimental, but
she also wrote a rather creepy horror story for our DARK CORRIDORS pages,
so she's full of surprises. Her articles, columns and poetry have appeared
in the Tacoma News Tribune, Country Almanac Magazine, Christian Singles Magazine, Goleta Gazette, Thurston/Mason Senior News, Woman's Touch Magazine and the Nisqually Valley Newspaper. Her humor column,
"Down Home," is a long-running newspaper feature. Audrey has taught creative writing at a private school and one of her columns was reprinted
in the monthly publication of the Washington State Weekly Newspaper
Pubishers group. She's the mother of six and has 17 grandchildren. She is the author of "Uptown Down Home."
DAVID ZINMAN is a former reporter for Long Island Newsday and the Associated Press bureau in New Orleans. He's the author of 50 Classic Motion Pictures and The Day Huey Long Was Shot. He recently co-authored a play about the assassination of the Louisiana Kingfish and completed a collection of short stories. He's a graduate of Columbia University and the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. Now retired, he divides his time between New York and Conway, South Carolina. Zinman was a first prize winner in the 1998 competition of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.
ELIAS CASTILLO, author of the "Border Boy" series, is a prizewinning reporter whose background includes stints as an Associated Press correspondent and as a reporter for the San Jose Mercury News, where he won numerous awards for his journalism. He now writes op-ed pieces on U.S.-Mexico relations for the San Francisco Chronicle and operates his own public relations firm. He has a master's degree from San Jose State University, where he also taught classes
in journalism. A specialist in covering U.S.-Mexican affairs, he co-authored the "Mexican Drug Syndicates in California" chapter of the book "Organized Crime and Democratic Governability, Mexico and the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands."
KINNEY LITTLEFIELD is one of America's most respected television critics. She comes to us from the Orange County Register in Southern California, where she covered the medium from 1993-2000. Littlefield knows television intimately after several jobs in the medium, including producing and reporting for KETC in St. Louis; KERA in Dallas and GroupW cable in Irving, TX. Littlefield has written
about visual arts for the Orange County edition of the Los Angeles Times
and Broadcasting & Cable Magazine, the Dallas Morning News and the Dallas Observer also have published her work. Her background includes work as a photographer, film programmer, teacher, gallery curator, media librarian and community video producer. She also has studied acting in the adult
conservatory of the acclaimed South Coast Repertory theater in Southern California. A versatile writer, she has contributed to DARK CORRIDORS
and once even reported for us from Israel during the flareup of hostilities between Palestinians and Israelis. She is now completing university graduate
Johnny Sheffield instantly became one of the most popular child stars in Hollywood in 1939 when he was cast as "Boy" in MGM's Tarzan Finds A Son!
He played Tarzan's son until he left the enduring jungle series in 1947, but resurfaced to star in his own series as Bomba the Jungle Boy in 1949. When the Bomba series ended in 1955, Sheffield finished his college education, then
made the unsold TV pilot Bantu (pictured) before retiring from acting to enter the business world. Sheffield's writing career began with his Memoirs of A
Jungle Boy series for TheColumnists.com. In 2001, Johnny demonstrated his versatility by writing a column about golfer Tiger Woods without ever using
the jungle word "umgawa."
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