Comedian Lonnie Shorr, who would go on to appear on the Merv Griffin, Dean Martin and Tonight shows, was bitten by the acting bug while a 1950s City College student. He made his Baltimore debut when he landed a role in the student play Remains to be Seen, presented on his high school's 33rd Street stage.
"I was always the class clown," he said.
He was born in 1939 in Zebulon, N.C., and he likes to tell his audiences where he came from. "It's just a word and it's funnier than Baltimore. It always gets a laugh," he said in his trademark Southern accent.
He arrived here (a home facing the Druid Hill Park reservoir) to live with his grandmother - and took the No. 32 streetcar and No. 22 bus to get to City College.
Thanks to his uncle, attorney and Baltimore City Council member Maxwell Alpert, he got summer jobs at Druid Hill Park. There, he did everything from raking leaves to "shoveling stuff at the zoo." He said he also loved the clay tennis courts there.
As a young comedian, he got his first break at the old Mardi Gras supper club on Harford Road and went on to the Playboy Club on Light Street. Then he left Baltimore and played Las Vegas 20 weeks a year and appeared on game shows such as Break the Bank and Hollywood Squares. He also toured with Kenny Rogers.
"Comedians never retire," he said, explaining that he continues to tell jokes at corporate events, private parties and performing arts centers.
He now lives in Fort Lauderdale. Fla. He returns several times a year and often stays with former Colts and Redskins player Joe Washington, a close friend who lives in Lutherville.
Shorr will be back in Baltimore on June 14 for an evening fundraiser for the nonprofit League for People with Disabilities, 1111 E. Cold Spring Lane, 410-323-0500.