Interview with Russell Hendricks

From the interview with Russell Hendricks of Port Townsend conducted by Patience Rogge at the Fort Worden History Center on March 31, 2011.  Mr. Hendricks has been Facilities Manager at Fort Worden State Park Conference Center since 2001.  Here he describes his meeting with Louis Gossett, jr., who received an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor for his role as Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley in the 1982 film Officer and a Gentleman.  The movie was made at Fort Worden:

“ In 2007, Lou Gossett came here to do a trailer for the 25th anniversary of the movie.  I met him  at seven o’clock at the back door of the Park Office Building and let him in.  He went up to the Blue Room (now the Jean Dunbar Room) and they set up and did an interview with him there.  Then I went around with him probably three or four hours, just going to different places where they’d filmed during the movie.  He was talking about what happened here and what happened there and the film crew was with him.  We went to the Balloon Hangar (now McCurdy Pavilion) where the fight scene took place, and then in front of Building 204.  I said, ‘Do you remember at the end of the movie when you saluted Richard Gere on the stairs?  That was right here.’  He said, ‘I remember that.’  Gossett’s son was with him.  Lou went up to the head of the stairs, and the film crew got it all set up. He said that when one of these guys graduated from Officer Candidate School, he had to give a silver dollar to the first enlisted person he saw, and the enlisted person would give him his first salute as an officer. I asked, ’A silver dollar?’ He said, ‘Yeah, that’s in the movie.  They all handed me a silver dollar and I tucked it in my waistband.’ I carry a silver dollar in my watch pocket just for good luck.  So I pulled it out and said, ‘Like this?’ He said, ‘Yeah! Can we have it?’  Of course, I agreed.  So, if you see the trailer, you’ll see his son go up the stairs and Gossett gives him his first salute, then the son hands Lou my silver dollar. It was kind of neat.  Lou Gossett is probably the highlight of people I’ve met here.”

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