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Issaquah’s elders star in their own Hollywood productions



The residents of this assisted living facility take on the roles of showbiz icons.

ISSAQUAH, Wash Northwest Hollywood might just be that center of life for seniors in Issaquah.

“It’s all a party here,” said resident Phyllis Soldano.

Over the past two years, residents of Spriritwood at Pine Lake have playfully recreated iconic Tinseltown scenes from TV and movies during photo shoots.

From sci-fi thrillers to gangster classics, the photos are published annually in a calendar.

“We look at the residents and imagine the icon,” said Executive Director Michelle Strazis.

RELATED: Seniors Recreate Iconic Album Cover To Boost Spirits During Retirement Home Lockdown

The models are carefully cast and photographed by Jennifer Angell, Director of Community Relations, with assistance from Strazis.

“My favorite was Liza Minelli,” Angell said. “But I really enjoyed the Blues Brothers. Both guys were phenomenal. They were so much fun.”

One of those guys, Jack Guptil, also posed for the Star Trek photo.

Guptil said, “I pretty much look like Spock. I was mistaken for him walking down the street.”

Angell added, “It’s weird because they look so much like the character.”

Resident Dale Voight is the spitting image of screen legend Alfred Hitchcock in his photo.

“Everyone said I looked more like Alfred than Alfred himself,” Voight laughs.

RELATED: Telehealth, Protecting Our Seniors, and Accepting the Trauma of COVID-19 – The Way Forward

Residents look forward to modeling sessions each year.

Resident Diane Edwards said, “We all love to get together, relax and have a good time.

But things don’t always go well.

“That’s what I love about it,” Angell said.

Recreating the famous candy factory scene from the ’50s classic, I Love Lucy, required a few adjustments, coordinating the comedic expressions of several models.

“Trying to get these three women to do the same part at the same time was hilarious,” Strazis said.

The wardrobe does not always match the model, as they discovered with a character’s dress while filming Gilligans Island.

“It was three sizes too small,” Angell said. “She got stuck in it!”

Strazis added: “So we used the costume, but we just cut off the back.”

Production has already started on the 2021 calendar, which features pop culture icons including Willie Nelson. Total sales from previous calendars raised more than $ 14,000 for the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. The cause is personal for Phyllis Soldano, who has friends who fight here disease.

“Knowing that you can be a part of something, help research and maybe improve their lives makes me feel really good,” Soldano said.

The people of Spiritwood are happy to go to Hollywood for good and fun.

Strazis said: “It makes them feel special. They appreciate it so much. It’s exciting.”

Angell agreed, “My heart is full.”

The KING 5 party celebrates the North West. Contact us: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, E-mail.

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