Everything you always wanted to know about Greg Mank -- but were afraid to ask
Profession(s): Writer, Actor, Teacher. My Bachelor of Arts degree from Mount St. Mary’s College, Emmitsburg, MD (1972) and Master of Liberal Arts degree from John Hopkins University, Baltimore MD (1984) forced me to work three jobs for survival.
Married (October 14, 1972) to Barbara Klein. She tells people I married her because she knew the names and faces of various old film actors. Actually, I married her because she looks like a fairy tale princess with great legs. I’m a very lucky man.
Parents and Sibling: William Charles Mank and Frances Bowen Mank. Wonderful parents. Mom died in 2009 and Dad in 2015; we miss them very much. Brother Randy has recently acquired a second home in the Florida Keys – just in time for 2017’s hurricane season (fortunately, not too much damage).
Fascinations: Theatre, Film, Books, Circuses, WWII planes, Zoos, Animals, Travel. Most of these took root early in life and have stayed.
Favorite Childhood Book and Film: Disney’s Song of the South. A poster from the film’s original release decorates our home.
Favorite Teaching Memory (having retired in 2005 after 30 years’ service): Teaching Shakespeare. Generally, by the time we got to the fifth act, the students would look up in amazement and say, “Hey! This is starting to get good!”
Theatre Work: Fortunate to have played Prof. Harold Hill in The Music Man, Capitan Von Trapp in The Sound of Music, Curly, Will, Jud, and Ali Hakim in various productions of Oklahoma, Emilie de Becque in South Pacific, "Il Stupendo" in Lend Me a Tenor, Rutledge and Lee in various productions of 1776, Captain Hook in Peter Pan, Judge Turpin in Sweeney Todd, Fagin and Bill Sikes in various productions of Oliver! more. Lots of villains! Also, for 35 years, have portrayed evil Barnaby in Baltimore Actors Theatre's annual Babes in Toyland. The top hat and cape haven't worn out, nor have I.
Writing work: Fascination with old movies has led to researching them and writing about them, notably the classic horror films. Over 100 interviews, many trips, various archival visits. The research adventures include finding the California mountain lake (and precise spot) where Boris Karloff's Monster tossed "Little Maria" in Frankenstein (1931); finding Karloff's Hollywood Hills home of the era, atop 100 steps (and on a very hot day); having the distinction of Elsa Lanchester teaching me how to hiss like the Bride of Frankenstein; and having Valerie Hobson the heroine of Bride of Frankenstein, confide to me that she wore no underwear under her costume.
Awards: Inducted into the Rondo Award "Monster Kid Hall of Fame" in 2014. Won the 2009 Rondo Awards for Best Book, Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff: The Expanded Story of a Haunting Collaboration, and for Writer of the Year. Learned the 2009 news while in Los Angeles on business. Went out on my 11th floor hotel balcony, looked out at the lights of the Hollywood Hills, and felt fine.
Favorite Memory for a Rainy Day: One night in Hawaii in 1997 during our 25th anniversary trip. Barbara knows why.
Favorite Song: "The Rose", by Amanda McBroom.
Favorite Book: Trilby, by George Du Maurier. I have an 1894 first edition with an engraved cover and the du Maurier illustrations.
Hobbies: Reading, Traveling, Gardening. Raise vegetables most years. Still trying for a giant pumpkin that’ll beat my personal record of 70 lbs.
Current projects: Working on 13 chapters for the sequel to my The Very Witching Time of Night book.
Ambition: Publish fiction. Two novels completed -- “Porter Down,” former Lafayette Escadrille pilot turned troubleshooter detective in Golden Age Hollywood. Novels mix fully-researched accounts of milestone films/notorious scandals with Down’s fictional presence. Enormously fun to write. They’d also be enormously fun, I’d wager, for a major agent to read. Are you out there?
Philosophy: “There’s a divinity that shapes our ends, rough hew them how we will.” Hamlet, Act V. sc. ii.
Jessica: Born 1977. She has a professional background in Early Childhood education, has two children, Mark and Sarah, and her husband is Eric whom she married in 2018.
Christopher: Born 1980, had
a professional background in
library science, and married
Cori in 2012. Chris died
February 23, 2018, after a
brief illness. Nevertheless,
he’s with his Mom and me
all the time.
Greg with children Chris and Jess, enjoying an adventure, 1982.
Grandchildren: Mark, b. 2000; Sarah, b. 2002. Became a grandparent at age 49, allowing for adventure. Always enjoy spending time with both grandchildren – although the opportunities to spend time with them decrease as they begin (at age 19 and 17 respectively) to forge their own (independent) lives.
Christopher Colin Mank 7/6/80 - 2/23/18
Daughter Jessica, her husband Eric, and her children Sarah and Mark.