BACK IN THE DAY…
In 1989, Ron Fox, VP of Bear Stearns, hosted the first of twelve Famous Fone Friends Holiday
Calling Days, where live action and voice-over actors, who were FFF callers during the year,
came together at the Century City Bear Stearns headquarters to call hospitalized children all
over the country. Individual studio teachers and community members of FFF each served as a
personal volunteer to an actor, facilitating and surprising children who were stuck in the
hospital over the holidays, going through difficult treatments and procedures, as if Christmas
Day was like any other day of the year. Check out these photos with young Neil Patrick Harris,
James Avery, Kellie Martin, Fred Savage, and many famous actors and voice-over actors of
cartoon characters like Pete Renaday (voice of Mickey Mouse), Nancy Cartwright (voice of Bart
Simpson) and others.
Famous Fone Friend’s most special volunteer in 1990 was Matt, a 12 year-old hemophiliac
battling AIDS (from a tainted transfusion as an infant), who was referred to FFF for a call from
his favorite celebrity, Armin Shimerman (Quark on the TV series, Star Wars: Deep Space Nine).
Matt was so delighted to be called, that the following year, his mom passed on his request to
attend the FFF Calling Day to help out as a volunteer. You can imagine how thrilled Matt was to
be Armin’s personal volunteer that day. The next year’s Holiday FFF Calling Day, Matt’s mom
again drove him down from his home in San Luis Obispo, even though this year he was much
weaker. The next year, Matt regretted that he was too weak to make the drive down to L.A.
and participate, but Studio Teacher Buzzy Gogny’s friend with a plane, found a solution and
flew up to San Luis Obispo to fly Matt and his mom down (and back), so he could attend and
again be a FFF volunteer. (Jeff Gross and David Sheldon were the “pre-Uber” drivers who met
Matt and his mom at LAX to bring them to Century City.) That year, Matt, wheelchair-bound,
was a happy greeter at the door, introducing each arriving actor to his personal volunteer. That
was Matt’s last year, but his mom was so grateful for the opportunity her son had to be a part
of this fun experience and participate in enabling other hospitalized kids to share in the
excitement of speaking to their favorite celebrities.
Look for some very young studio teacher volunteers like Susie Salerno, Judy Brown, Dana
Cohen, Cheryl Diamond, Caryl Pine, Barbara Bass and Steve Elster in some of these pictures
from the 1990’s.

1988-1999 Holiday FFF Calling Days

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