rallamajoop: (Leigh Chapman)
[personal profile] rallamajoop
Had to stick this last one in a separate post, as the post below was getting close to the limit. Not wholly a bad thing — it's the longest article in the set by a wide margin, so it doesn't hurt to separate it out.

Kannapolis Girl Writes Movies — And Acts Too
July 4, 1965
The Daily Independent from Kannapolis, North Carolina · Page 2

[Small photo with article]
By NANCY ANDERSON When Rosa Lee Chapman was studying drama at Winthmp College in Rock Hill, S. C . her mother was so embarrassed that she kept it a secret. In truth. Rosa Lee’s major was French, and drama was only a minor, but even that smacked too much of fast-living folk and Hollywood wickedness to sit well with good, conservative neighbors in Miss Chapman's home town, small Central, S. C. Now, however, when Rosa, who has changed her name to Leigh, is seen weekly on the television show, "The Man From U N.C.L.E." her parents are filled with justifiable pride, and the neighbors think of her as a credit to the community.

Leigh Chapman, at the age of 25. is not only a steadily employed actress appearing on a hit television show, but is also a successful writer who has sold scripts for three feature pictures and for three television productions. Her first picture, “Swinging Summer.” has just been released. She wrote it in five days, but other scripts have taken longer — more than two weeks in some cases. Right now she has an office at Columbia Pictures where she's scripting a movie yet to be named.

Leigh was born in Kannapolis, N C . where her grandfather, Ira Chapman, was the respected chief of police Her father, like most people in Kannapolis, worked for Cannon Mills. When Leigh was 6 years old, he transferred to the Cannon plant in Central. S. C. Leigh grew up in such moral surroundings, the atmosphere typical of many American small towns, that she once determined to he a missionary. “When I was about 8 or 9 years old I had typhoid fever, pneumonia, heart trouble and several other things at the same time.” she recalls. “Nobody told me that I was about to die, but I knew that I was, and I was afraid. “That's the only thing that I'm afraid of now — dying. “Anyway, I was terrified, and I thought, “What can I do for God if He'll only let me live'’ “Where I grew up. the most wonderful thing in the world was to be a missionary I mean that was the highest calling, so I promised God that if He’d only let me live I'd be a missionary. “I didn’t want to. I fought against it. But, in the end, that was the bargain I made. “For a few years I positively intended to be a missionary, but later I knew that it would be i wrong, because I didn't really feel called.”

Instead. Leigh majored in French with the idea of working for the State Department and minored in drama just for i the fun of it. Her summers were spent in Kannapolis, where she clerked in a department store. She never thought of writing because she didn’t consider herself intellectual enough, and she never thought of becoming a professional actress because she thought she was too ugly. “I was one of those girls who cried when she looked in the i mirror.’’ Miss Chapman recalls, “As for writing, I wanted to enroll in a creative writing class in college, but my intellectual friends scared me away. “I mean all the really smart people were in the class, so I thought 'ha' if they were doing creative writing, I’d better not try it.”

Leigh reached Hollywood and the film studios by way of an unhappy marriage. While she was attending Winthrop she began to date a boy from York. S.C,. who aspired to be an actor and upon graduation they were married. They headed for Hollywood, where her young husband hoped to become a star and where Leigh hoped to get a job as a secretary. “My parents didn't object,” Leigh says. “I was a married woman, so they thought I'd be safe,” Leigh went to work as a secretary ar a major talent agency. For her husband, however, employment in his chosen field was harder to find. In fact, there was almost no demand for the young actor from York. The pressures upon their marriage were such that eventually Leigh and her husband separated. and he went home. At the same time Leigh was begining to succeed in the field in which he had failed — acting! Through contacts she'd made at work, she got a small part in a “Burke's Law” segment which led to other parts gradually increasing in importance. “I didn’t tell my family until six months later that I was divorced or that I was acting. Leigh tells her story. “I was afraid of what they'd say. “There’s only been one divorce in my family ever, and it caused a terrible upheaval There had never been an actress! “Anyway, I initially broke the news about both circumstances at once. “Of course, my parents were terribly sorry about the way my marriage had worked out. When I went back for a visit, my father told me not to tell my grandmother even at that late date that I was divorced. “But of course I had to. She started asking where my husband was, and I had to tell her. “As for the acting, once they'd seen me on the screen, my parents were proud of me. It so happened that I arrived home for a visit the very day after a television show I’d been in had been in had been on the air, and everybody treated me like a celebrity. “I couldn't make my old friends understand that in Hollywood I was no celebrity at all. I was still an unknown.”

Even as her marriage to a would be actor had led to her acting. Leigh's dates with a writer led to her writing. “I was dating a writer who asked me to type his manuscripts,” she explains. “After I'd typed a few of his scripts it occurred to me that I might be able to write one. “Anyway, I tried, and it sold. “Again I was lucky because I had contacts that most people don't have. A friend of mine is secretary to a man connected with a television show, and I think she just about locked him in his office until he read my script. “Fortunately, he liked it. “I'm delighted to be writing. It gives me a second iron in the fire. Getting jobs before the camera is such a precarious way to make a living 'and a girl who tries to exist in Hollywood as an actress is apt to have a very hard time. “So far. I've had only one script rejected, one I wrote for 'Ben Casey,’ and I'm not surprised that it didn't sell, because it wasn’t good.”

Happily, Leigh's success in this particular field doesn't disturb her writer friend. “He's proud of me because I'm his protege,” she said. "The more I write, the more we seem to have in common. In fact, he's getting so that he treats me more like a business associate than a date — which may not be such a good thing.”

Miss Chapman's Movie Scheduled For Release Here
Leigh Chapman, daughter of Mr. and Mrs Harold Chapman of Central, S. C., has sold scripts for three movies and three television programs, as well as playing roles on nationally televised programs Her first- movie script was “Swingin' Summer ” This movie, which has special appeal for teenagers, will be shown at Kannapolis' Swan(?) Theater Thursday through Saturday. “Swingin' Summer" is a story of a group of jobless teenagers who spend the summer producing — very successfully — a show at Lake Arrowhead.

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