Behind the Sheik’s Beard


In the early 1960s when I was a student at Hollywood High School, I wrote a column for the Hollywood High News called Behind the Sheik’s Beard. The name was a tip of the hat to Rudolph Valentino, the inspiration for our mascot, the Sheik.

Many celebrities and other famous people attended Hollywood High before my time, including film directors Edward Dmytryk and John Huston, actors Jason Robards, John Ritter, James Garner, Mitzy Gaynor, Gloria Grahame, Barbara Hershey, Alan Hale, Jr., Richard Jaeckel, Sally Kellerman, Carole Lombard, Joel McCrea, Ann Miller, Sarah Jessica Parker, Fay Wray, Alexis Smith, David and Rickey Nelson. And of course, Lana Turner, who discovered across the street at the Top Hat malt shop.

I am not so sure that all the claims are true. I once asked Mickey Rooney, who is widely believed to have attended Hollywood High, if it was true. He said, “No. I went to Fairfax.”

During my three years there, my fellow classmates included Johnny Crawford, his brother, Bobby and Mike Smith, all Mouseketeers from the original Mickey Mouse Club. Actresses Mimsy Farmer and Swoozy Kurtz and Yolanda Veloz were also students during my time. So was Catherine “Gypsy” Share of the Manson Family. Tuesday Weld is another student I question. Who could have missed her on campus? Or Stefanie Powers, Cher or Yvette Mimieux? I know I don’t remember them.

There were many others, long gone, some remembered, many forgotten.

Those were good times and make for good memories. I drove by the campus recently and it seems half the student body wears hoodies an grunge attire. I never wore jeans one day in three years. We were part of a generation that took grooming seriously.

Every Friday when there was a football game at home or across town, I wore my red sweater and white pegged pants, known as peggers.

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