Today on the Rarified Heir Podcast we are talking to educator & author Larry Strauss, whose mother is well known to both Broadway fans and sitcom fans alike, none other than Edna Garrett herself, the incomparable Charlotte Rae. It was a fascinating talk with Larry because there were so many connections and parallels to host Josh Mills’ own life as both Charlotte Rae and Josh’s mother Edie Adams starred in L’il Abner on Broadway in 1956 as Mammy Yokum and Daisy Mae respectively. Much of the episode centers around all things Normal Lear, Diff’rent Strokes, The Facts of Life and theatre friends like Zero Mostel who once came to a party at their New York Apartment and ended up watching a Knicks game with Larry. We also learn about John Strauss, Larry’s dad, a Grammy and Emmy winner who not only co-wrote the theme songs for Car 54, Where Are You? and The Phil Silvers Show but produced the soundtrack to the Milos Forman film Amadeus but frequently collaborated on three early Woody Allen films. But there is a lot more to this discussion. We also talk about some serious hardships and familial love as Larry’s older brother Andrew suffered from autism, epilepsy and schizophrenia in the 1950s and 1960s when there simply was no help for children with special needs like there is now. Somehow, that dogged persistence by his mother and father to help Andrew led Larry to a career as an English teacher in the LAUSD school system and it was his own persistence and belief in his students, that finds father’s day cards in his mailbox from those same students for all his hard work and belief In them. In addition to teaching, Larry writes a column for USA Today, he co-wrote his mother’s autobiography My Facts of Life and on the eve of publication, we talk to him about his latest novel, Light Man, a fictionalized story that takes place in a city in the decline. Set in 1973 New York, it touches upon some of the very topics mentioned above. Oh the places you’ll go on this episode of the Rarified Heir Podcast.
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