The month of March is designated as “Women’s History Month”
So what better time is there to take a look at a couple of women with deep roots in our community who have went on to bigger and better things in the national spotlight?
Actress Anita Leubben was born on Aug. 16, 1936. The daughter of John and Juanita Leubben, lists her place of birth as Baltimore in her official biography, but refined searches show her as residing in suburban “Rossville” where she sang at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church and where members of her family still live.
She graduated from Kenwood Senior High School and went on to attend the Peabody Conservatory.
Acting was her passion so as a young adult she went off to New York to pursue her dreams and would wind up with a career that has spanned 50 years and has included the Broadway stage, television and the movies.
Her first “gig” came in 1959 when she won a part in the Broadway production of “Gypsy” starring Ethel Merman. Subsequent Broadway plays she appeared in include "Carnival," "Guys & Dolls," "Cabaret," and "Brighton Beach Memoirs." She was nominated for a Tony Award as Best Actress in the play “Chapter Two” back in 1978.
Her first appearance on television was a guest shot in a 1961 episode of "Route 66." That was followed by a 1963 appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show." She honed her acting skills with roles on popular soap pperas such as "The Edge of Night," "Another World," and "Search for Tomorrow."
She was also a favorite of game show producers and made many appearances as a panelist on shows like "What’s My Line," "I’ve Got a Secret," "The Match Game" and "Pyramid." She has had many guest roles on series such as "Love American Style," "Fraiser," "Sex in the City" and "CSI" but is probably better known as Jack Klugman’s love interest in his series "Quincy M.E." Her most recent TV roles include guest shots on last season's "Law & Order" as Judge Sheila Tripler and "30 Rock" as Margaret Lemon.
Leubben has also had roles in many movies such as “Moonstruck” with Cher, and “Bob Roberts” opposite of Tim Robbins and Jack Black. I forgot to mention that most of us know her better as actress Anita Gillette.
I first met Lynn Doyle (nee Guttenberger) when, as a journalism major fresh out of Towson University she began working for The Essex Times newspaper back in 1975. Although she probably would not know who I am today, I believe that we began a friendship of mutual respect and admiration.
Guttenberger quickly moved up through the ranks at the “Times” and became editor. She was widely respected in the community for her truth, honesty and fairness in reporting. She continued to work for the Times until 1982.
With journalism in her heart, Lynn entered into the (at that time) fledgling cable TV industry securing a job with Baltimore County’s Caltec Cablevision Co. It is there that her star really began to rise and shine. Caltec was eventually purchased and absorbed into the mighty Comcast Corp. Guttenberger stayed with Comcast where she met her soon to be husband Michael Doyle.
Moving to the Philadelphia area, Doyle settled in raising her family. She also began a meteoric climb in the cable industry. She was a founding host of the QVC Network. She has also done stints at CNBC and Fox News. She perhaps found her niche as a Talk Show Host. Her show “It’s Your Call” is now in its 14th season on Comcast.
The five-time Emmy Award winning program, including two for best talk show host, an Associated Press Best Talk Show Host Award and a Cable Ace Award have established Doyle as a true giant and leader in the industry. She has interviewed world leaders such as Mikhail Gorbachev, President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Sen. John McCain and many others.
Not satisfied with her accomplishments as a journalist, Doyle has expanded her career traveling throughout the Mid-Atlantic region as a guest speaker at many events. She has also become a philanthropist on her own right and has assisted many other groups in fundraising efforts.
She has also found the time to start her own television production company that can proclaim the Baltimore Orioles, Baltimore Blast, Arm & Hammer, Pathmark and others among its clients.
Therefore, we dedicate this column to Anita Gillette, Lynn Doyle and all of the other fantastic women who as mothers, homemakers, or career women, work hard everyday to make our community the best that it can be. We salute you.
Next week we will look at a few more homes that are historic in our area. As always, I want to thank everyone for all the kind comments you make about this column. They are sincerely appreciated. Keep reading.