DFL Library Dinner to Honor Angela Lansbury

Angela Lansbury (Courtesy of DFL)

Pete Salmansohn, Nance Williamson and Kurt Rhoads also to be recognized

The eighteenth annual Desmond-Fish Library Associates Awards Dinner will be held on Monday, May 28 at the newly renovated Bear Mountain Inn.  It will be accompanied by a “Book and Bottle” silent auction with a theatrical theme.

The library is excited to present the Hamilton Fish Award for leadership to renowned actress Angela Lansbury.  Her professional acting career spans more than 70 years. She has been featured in more than 40 films, is a five-time Tony Award-winner and has won six Golden Globes.  Lansbury is also well known as the television icon Jessica Fletcher from Murder, She Wrote, one of the longest running television series in history. She is currently performing in the Broadway revival of Gore Vidal’s The Best Man.

In 1940, Ms. Lansbury and her family were on the last boatload of children to leave the British Isles before German submarines made further Atlantic crossings impossible.  Lansbury’s introduction to Philipstown came from a near 70-year friendship with Anne Perkins Cabot.  The Perkins family frequently hosted Lansbury and her brothers at Glynwood on holidays.  Subsequently, Lansbury also chose to make Glynwood her home during the 1970s while performing on Broadway.

Kurt Rhoads and Nance Williamson (Photo by Walter Garschagen)

The Patricia Adams Award for community service will be given to Nance Williamson and Kurt Rhoads.  They met in 1983, when they were cast as Orlando and Rosalind in As You Like It.   Six months later they were married.  Williamson and Rhoads have worked together on 58 plays.  They have been regulars at the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival (HVSF) – Rhoads, for 16 seasons and Williamson, for 13 seasons.   Rhoads has also directed five shows at HVSF with Williamson acting in all of them, usually in male roles!  They are co-founders of TrueNorth Theatre Project, a company devoted to readings of under-produced and local writers.  Many students at local schools and organizations such as Manitoga have learned about Shakespeare from educational programs by Rhoads and Williamson.  Garrison residents for the past 10 years, they are active in the Old Road Society.  Williamson is now appearing in Boeing Boeing at Trinity Rep in Providence.  Rhoads will appear in The Merry Wives of Windsor at The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C. this spring and summer.

Pete Salmansohn (Photo by Karen Thompson)

Pete Salmansohn will receive the Alice Curtis Desmond Award. He is an environmental educator, working for the Hudson Highlands Land Trust and the National Audubon Society.  He’s the author of two award-winning, Audubon-licensed children’s books, Project Puffin and Saving Birds.  Pete has been working with the students of Philipstown for 10 years in many different roles, including that of a visiting nature-studies teacher, an after-school organizer of the popular Explorer’s Club, and the School Forest Coordinator for the Garrison Union Free School.  He loves helping children make direct connections to nature, such as picking up a frog or a slithering salamander.  In the summers, he migrates to the coast of Maine where he narrates eco-tourism cruises out to a restored puffin colony and also teaches and directs at the historic Hog Island Audubon Camp.

The Associates Dinner is the major annual fundraiser of the Desmond-Fish Library in Garrison. The entire lower floor of the library was flooded during Hurricane Irene, and the library is still recovering from the damage.   “Our associates and other donors have been very generous towards the library in the past,” said library director Carol Donick.  “We need them more than ever this year.” For more information about the Associates Dinner, or to request an invitation, please go to the library website or call the Desmond-Fish Library at 845-424-3020.

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