LLS Jupiter Founding Faculty Award 2002
Myrna Goldberger has been on the staff of LLS for more than 20 years. Educated at the University of Maryland, Loyola College and Johns Hopkins University, she has had more than 50 years of experience in educational programming, including Elderhostels and scholar-in-residence weekends. She currently presents lectures to community groups, religious groups and special interest organizations in Florida and numerous other states. In addition, Ms. Goldberger performs in self-written, one-act plays focusing on famous American men and women. Her students, who call themselves “Myrna’s Groupies,” describe her as “charismatic, knowledgeable and dynamic.”
J. Edgar Hoover and the F.B.I.
The Scandals and the Secrets
J. Edgar Hoover can be described as “wielding more power longer than any other man in American history.” For almost 50 years, Hoover’s influence went unchecked as he used his files to “manipulate presidents to maintain his directorship.”
A man who demanded loyalty, he was willing to resort to hidden microphones, wiretapping, stalking and surveillance to ensure his supremacy and eliminate his adversaries. How was Hoover connected to the Mob? Were the investigations of the deaths of JFK, Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy without flaw? What was some of the scandalous information contained in his massive files? What was the relationship between the Secret Service and the FBI? How did Hoover demonstrate his reliance on his own words, ”There’s something addictive about a secret.” In this one-woman presentation, using costume and visuals, Myrna Goldberger will detail the life of J. Edgar Hoover, his association with Clyde Tolson, his obsession with erotic literature, his personal hatreds and his use and misuse of the organization he “fathered” – The Federal Bureau of Investigation. Myrna’s objective is to provide “edutainment” for “Myrna’s Groupies.”
Evalyn Walsh McLean: Owner of the Hope Diamond
Her Life and Times
From a poor childhood as the daughter of a frenetic miner to the wealthy offspring of this same father who one day struck it rich, Evalyn Walsh McLean lived a life dominated by excessive wealth, influential friends, attention-getting behavior, dissipation, hedonism and tragedy. Married to Ed McLean, owner of the Washington Post, Evalyn became Washington’s prominent hostess, inviting the Tafts, Hardings, Coolidges, Alice Roosevelt and even J. Edgar Hoover to her magnificent, creative functions. But Evalyn Walsh McLean is probably best known as the 22-year-old owner of the Hope Diamond, a dazzling jewel whose curse surrounded its carats. In this one-act self-written program, Myrna Goldberger, using costume and visuals, will portray a woman who also became a cheated victim in the Lindbergh case, a benefactor to the Bonus Army, the wife of a husband who went mad and the mother of four children, two of whom died under mysterious, tragic circumstances. The purpose of this presentation is to provide Edutainment for Myrna’s Groupies with a story portrayed in film by Arlene Dahl and appropriately entitled “The Diamond Queen."
Charles Ponzi and Bernie Madoff top the list. Yet, there are others, male and female, who have made “swindling” their occupation and have cheated large numbers of people with no remorse whatsoever. This course will focus on these individuals’ unbelievable stories and will also describe the commonalities of those involved. How did Gerald Barnes add “doctor” to his name and advance in a medical career without a degree? How did twins manage to bilk the U.S. government of over three million dollars in “shipping costs” for inexpensive items? How did George Hull create and exploit the “Cardiff Monster” and then have P.T. Barnum outdo him? How did George P. Parker go about selling the Statue of Liberty and Grant’s Tomb? From Cassie Chadwick, an impostor, to Frank Abagnale and his eight identities, these stories will highlight a certain segment of American history and provide Edutainment for Myrna’s Groupies.
The Life and Influence of Nancy Cunard
Dynamic, domineering, controversial, scandalous — these are words used to describe Nancy Cunard, heiress to the ship-building fortune and a leader in daily life. With a constant need for lovers and a lust for life itself, Nancy became a symbol of cafe society in the ‘20s and ‘30s. She became an activist fighting against racism and prejudice and a poet/publisher who mingled with such individuals as Aldous Huxley, Ezra Pound, James Joyce and T.S. Eliot.
Bewitching and beguiling, Nancy waged a constant war against her mother, introduced Samuel Beckett as a writer, advocated surrealism and modernism and established the Hours Press as a paradigm of her rebellious, but exacting nature.
In this self-written one-act play, Myrna Goldberger creates “edutainment” for her groupies by using costumes and imagery to portray the life and times of a woman who became the “dazzling icon of her age,” but could not help but self-destruct.