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12/08/2009

Steve Meltzer: Readers remember a puppeteer who 'brought joy to everyone he met'

December 8, 2009 |  3:35 pm

Meltzer pic

My colleagues and I get e-mail -- boatloads of it -- especially when we’ve written an obituary about someone who seems to have truly connected with the community. Often, readers seem to have a need to share how a person touched their lives. Case in point: Steve Meltzer, a 56-year-old puppeteer who had a stroke hours after permanently closing his Santa Monica Puppetry Center. Here’s a sampling of the e-mails that have rolled in since Monday:

Ms. Nelson,

I want to thank you for your wonderful coverage of Steve Meltzer's life. I had the pleasure of working with Steve in the long-running production of "The Bar off Melrose" at the Melrose Theatre in Hollywood in the mid-1980s. This warm, gentle and talented man brought joy to everyone he met. Years later, when I had my son, my husband and I took him to Steve's puppet theater. He put on a special show just for the three of us.
 
Strangely enough, I was going through a closet this morning and came across a photo with Steve from the production ... just seeing his big grin made me smile. Less than an hour later my husband opened the Times and saw his obituary.
 
Thank you for an excellent job and for capturing the spirit of this lovely man.

Continued Success,
Joan Roberts Hickman
Los Angeles

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Hi Valerie,

I read your article today about the passing of Steve Meltzer. Is there a way we can get a letter to the family? He meant a lot in our household. My father was a ventriloquist that Steve admired very much. They got to meet recently, and he also made a huge impression on my daughter, who now wants to be a ventriloquist and had seen his show numerous times.
Thank you!

Amy Langer Schwartz
Toluca Woods

(Schwartz's request to be put in touch with the family was forwarded to a friend who acted as the family spokesman.)

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Hello,

I have amazing memories of Steve since my daughter's 4th b'day party (9 years ago!) and most recently (this past June) spent a morning with him in his studio while he educated me on my ventriloquist puppet, Humphrey from the '40s!

Jan Haagen
Beverly Hills

-- Valerie J. Nelson

Photo:  In June, Steve Meltzer and a marionette paraded before the City Council to lobby for historic landmark status for the Bob Baker Marionette Theater.  Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

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