Note to readers: Barry Schraders DeKalb
County Life column will appear every other Tuesday.
The DeKalb High Class of 1965 held its 50th reunion in
August and gave one of its alums, Richard Jenkins, a replica
of an Oscar. Less than a month later, he was awarded a real Emmy
for his lead role in the HBO TV mini-series Olive Kitteridge.
Although most of his classmates are retired, Jenkins, 68,
is probably at the pinnacle of his acting career after a lifetime
of roles that have earned him dozens of accolades in both movies
Recently, some classmates shared a 1965 high school yearbook,
The Kalibre, with me telling about Jenkins school exploits.
It listed his activities: Drama Club, Individual Speech, Intramurals,
sophomore and varsity athletics, water ballet and membership
in the D Club, an all-boys service club.
Three of his classmates, Diane Gautcher, Jim Dayton and
David Hegberg agreed that Jenkins has gone out of his way to
travel from his home in Rhode Island to their gatherings most
every five years, and many times his wife Sharon accompanies
him, as she did in August.
Jenkins used to make more frequent stops in DeKalb while
his parents, dentist Dr. Dale Jenkins and mother Libby, were
alive; they last lived at the Oak Crest retirement community.
On a visit back in 2004, he was interviewed by Daily Chronicle
writer Carol Hegberg, who recalls he was very easy to talk with.
At the time, the film Cheaper by the Dozen was playing
at area theaters and Jenkins had a major role as a sports director
at Northwestern University. Leading actors in that production
were Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt.
The article tells he learned much about acting at Illinois
Wesleyan University, where he was a theater major and a member
of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. It also was there he met Sharon,
and they married in 1969. They have two children, Sarah and Andy.
He fell in love with the little state of Rhode Island where
he got his start with the Trinity Repertory Company in Providence,
so decided to make that his home. But he must continue to travel
back to Hollywood and other sites around the country where movies
are being filmed on location.
Chatting with Richard Jenkins, center, during their
50th class reunion August 8 in DeKalb were Jim and Carol Dayton.
(Photo by David Hegberg)A portrait of Richard Jenkins in his senior year at
DeKalb High School in 1965 yearbook The Kalibre. Actor Richard and wife Sharon Jenkins at a recent
awards night. (Provided HBO photo)