Sunday, July 4, 2010

Larry Gates & Wife Honor Their Town

GUIDING LIGHT star Larry Gates, who died in 1996 from leukemia, and his wife, Judy, who died in March 2009, have left the town of Cornwall, Connecticut a bequested donation of $200,000. A few months after Judy's death, the town learned of the gift—the largest bequest in Cornwall’s history, according to First Selectman Gordon Ridgway. The Gateses took up residence in Cornwall in the 1950s.

Larry, an actor known for his roles as H.B. Lewis on GUIDING LIGHT and as Doc Baugh in the 1958 film version of Tennessee Williams’ play Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, was fondly remembered at a Board of Selectmen meeting in March as a stand-up resident who, with his wife, was active in supporting the town’s activities. They took an interest in providing recreational opportunities for students at Cornwall Consolidated School.

The town was one of four recipients of the Gateses’ generosity; similar amounts are going to the United Church of Christ in Cornwall, the Housatonic Valley Association and a guild in New York to help struggling actors, one of whom was Mr. Gates in times gone by.

Mr. Ridgway said Mr. Gates’ thespian background gave him a commanding presence.

“He still has a lot of fans as an actor, and was very active in the Housatonic Valley Association and other river issues, and was quite an orator; he would beat any character actor with his booming voice,” Mr. Ridgway said. “Often at town meetings, he would act as moderator and was quite a presence when he walked into the room.”

There is no immediate plan for how to use the funds, but as they were earmarked for the town’s general purposes, there are a wide variety of options available.

Joyce Hart, Administrative Assistant to the Board of Selectmen, told We Love Soaps the town plans "to publicly acknowledge and thank the Gates and then decide what to do with the bequest."

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