Longtime Carson City theater activist Maizie Harris Jesse died on Thursday, April 30.
Jesse, 85, was honored in 2010 when the Brewery Arts Center’s Black Box Theater was changed to honor her.
Jesse said she was raised as an “Army brat,” and began performing early on. At the age of 4, she was accepted to go on the “Major Bowes” radio show to sing “East Side, West Side, All Around the Town.” She went on to tap dance for the USO in Germany and performed “You Can’t Take it With You” for the Army Special Services.
While attending the University of Kansas, Jesse attended a speech class taught by Broadway actress Frances Feist.
Jesse was accepted by the Pasadena Playhouse and was also offered a Decca Records contract, both of which she turned down.
She came to Carson City by way of Lovelock in 1962, where she was a stringer for the Associated Press and also helped stage the PTA variety show at her children’s school. An acclaimed writer, she had bylines in newspapers in San Francisco, London and New York.
Along with Carolyn Tate, Jesse wrote a column for many years for the Nevada Appeal.
In 1965, she and Jim Johnson co-founded Proscenium Players.
Jesse credits feeder programs like Wildhorse Children’s Theater and BAC Stage Kids for growing children and parents who have an appreciation of the arts.
Her other life credits include running for city supervisor in 1969 and lieutenant governor in 1994, bids she lost.
Her first job was setting pins in a bowling alley, then working as an artists’ model and doing voice-overs for Ford Motor Co. She eventually worked for the Nevada Employment Security Department.
Arrangements are being handled by Fitzhenry’s Funeral Home.