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"The Promise of Tomorrow 1940-1960" awarded Best Feature Documentary at the Beverly Hills Film, TV & New Media Festival. To view the Press Release click here.

 

 


Angeline “Angie” Papadakis

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Angie in High School

Angeline “Angie” Lampas was born to Greek immigrant parents, John and Alexandra, on December 26th, 1925, in Enid, Oklahoma, where her parents had settled in the early twentieth century. They moved to Los Angeles in 1930, and most of Angie’s early years were spent growing up in the Leimert Park area of Los Angeles. Angie was an excellent student at Dorsey High School and was able to complete her studies in 2 ½ years. She was admitted to the Ephebian Honor Society and became valedictorian of her class. Although she had admissions from USC, UCLA, Occidental and Stanford Universities, she had the misfortune of being a girl and in a traditional Greek family. During that period Angie needed her parents’ blessings in order to accept any of the offers. The principal of Dorsey High even came to Angie’s home to try and persuade her parents but to no avail. They both listened attentively and then her mother stated emphatically, “She is a girl. If she was a boy okay, but she is a girl. She needs to get married and have boys.” Having three girls, her parents were fearful of having to provide dowries for each of them, as was the Greek custom. Their mother had the greater fear of her daughters becoming old maids!

An accomplished violinist, Angie, as a young girl, was cast in the Shirley Temple classic, Little Miss Broadway. Playing the violin as a member of the orchestra, she also had the opportunity to speak one line. As Shirley Temple tries to escape from the orphanage, it is young Angie, looking out the window, who exclaims, “But what’ll I tell the matron?”

Tom and Angie Papadakis on their wedding day

After graduation, instead of going on to college, Angie went to work for the U.S. Office of Price Administration (OPA) as a secretary and ended up running the organization during her boss’s long absences.

Tom and Angie at the Hollywood Palladium in 1947

The story of Angie’s arranged marriage to Ernest “Tom” Papadakis September 7, 1946, is delightfully shared in the interview accompanying this article. She was 20 when a planned engagement party at her future in-laws home in San Pedro, California, turned into a wedding ceremony.

Tom, John and Nick Papadakis

Tom and Angie settled in San Pedro, in a home paid for by Nick Papadakis, as he had done for all eight of his children. They raised three sons, Nick, John and Tom and as they grew Angie became active in the PTA, then the Salvation Army, and the Friday Morning Club. She was the consummate Greek wife and mother, however, which included taking orders for dinner while getting the boys ready for school. All her activities needed to be planned so she could be home by 5:00 p.m. to feed her husband Tom.

Tom and Angie

Angie and Tom Papadakis’s marriage lasted 58 years until Tom passed away in 2005. Angie wouldn’t have changed one iota of her life with Tom. They hardly knew each other when they married, but they learned and adjusted and had a wonderful married life. They were both enamored of Frank Sinatra and would regularly visit Las Vegas for his shows.  

While Angie’s first priority was taking care of her family’s needs, she developed a career outside her household duties to satisfy her creative spirit. For over three decades her one-liners were printed in numerous publications, including the Daily Breeze. She was also an award-winning humorist, writing scripts for cartoonists, featured in such well-known publications as Cosmopolitan and Playboy. For television Angie provided gags for Phyllis Diller, Johnny Carson, Bob Hope and Groucho Marx.

Tom, Angie, John and Nick Papadakis at Disneyland

Her community service began in earnest in 1963 when she became the director and secretary of the Los Angeles County Lung Association Board. She is the one who came up with the famous logo, “It’s a matter of life and breath.” After her sons were adults and flew the nest, Angie came into her own. She became a professional public speaker, addressing clubs, organizations and business, conventions as a keynote speaker, speaking throughout the State of California and all the Western states. She always took her mother along as “chaperone.” Angie definitely overcame being “only a girl!” Her husband Tom was a man who took pride and appreciated Angie’s accomplishments.

Angie, taken by her grandson Taso Papadakis, a professional photographer

As education has always been one of her priorities, when she was given the opportunity, Angie devoted countless hours ensuring that students – regardless of race, gender, religion, or creed – received a quality education. She accomplished this by serving four terms on the Los Angeles County Board of Education beginning in 1978. She served both as vice -president and president, before being appointed to the California Board of Education in 1983 for one term only. Angie did not shy away from controversy and she felt strongly that children should be taught in English, as she was as a child, who entered school not speaking a word of English. This was not a popular stance, and she was not reappointed for a second term. She again was, however, re-appointed 20 years later to the LA County Board of Education from 2002 to 2010.

Continued →

 

 

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