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Was Famous Story Teller Named after a Cat?

November 26, 2004

THE all-family show, ‘An O. HenryChristmas,’ presented by The LittleTheatre Group and directed by LisaDeFuso, brings alive some of the best ofthe great O. Henry short stories. No, itdoesn’t include the unforgettable “Ransomof Red Chief,” but the much-loved “TheGift of the Magi” and ‘The Last Leaf” arepart of this charming intermingling of O.Henry’s imaginative, romantic tales.This master of the surprise ending wasborn William Sidney Porter in 1862 inGreenboro, North Carolina and as a youngman, went to Texas to live with a family ona sheep farm.Porter had many jobs including being alicensed pharmacist, a banker, and magazinepublisher. After he married, he wasaccused of embezzlement and fled to NewOrleans and then Honduras. He returnedbecause of his wife’s failing health andwas imprisoned in Ohio (many feel he wasframed) for three years, where he wrotemany of his famous stories.WHEN he got out of jail, he kept thename O.Henry and went to live and writein New York. According to some, heacquired his pen name from a wardencalled Orrin Henry. It also could be anabbreviation of the name of a French pharmacist,Etienne-Ossian Henry, found in areference work Porter used when he was inthe prison pharmacy. But some sayPorter’s name came from hearing theTexas ranchers often call their cat, “Oh,Henry.”O. Henry gained worldwide acclaim asthe U.S.’s best short-story writer with 300short stories. He died penniless, but hisstories live on.IN this production, LTG’s old timefavorites Dennis Atkinson, Tim Hawkins,Sophia Holder, Tom Humes, CarolineKennedy and Joseph Loveday, will bejoined by Vicky Longland, making herLTG début and newcomer Roberto Leiva.This play is a wonderful introductionto the holiday season. Mark your calendar!Performances are at 7:30 p.m., Fridayand Saturday, and 2:30 p.m., Sunday,December 3-12. The Dec. 5 matinee hasbeen bought by the Women’s Club as afund raiser.Tickets are ¢1,000-¢2,500. For reservations,call 355- 1623 or visit intertica.com/ltg.htmSusan H. Liang

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