The Cambrian

Actor, artist Persoff’s 92nd: It’s going to be quite a day

Cambrian Nehemiah Persoff’s 92nd birthday was Tuesday, Aug. 2, but today’s offering you hold in your hands is more than just a celebration of that special event — a whole lot more.

Since his move to our fair community in 1990, the popular stage, screen and television actor decided to enter the challenging and rewarding field of art. Nick (as he likes to be called) decided he had enough stress in his life from his extensive career as an actor, so he sought peace and contentment by applying paint to canvas with a brush. He has also been involved with local theater and supporting aspiring young actors.

It’s always a treat to drive past the Persoff home and find Nick and his blushing bride of 60 years, Thia (an accomplished sculptor), working on projects in their garage.

Bill Klimek’s background included various activities. “I was involved with several businesses and was working as many as 16 to 18 hours a day,” he said, but an experience when he was 27 in 1991 had a big impact on his perspective of life. “I was struck down with Hodgkin’s disease, a sometimes fatal form of cancer. I underwent 12 weeks of chemotherapy and then endured six weeks of radiation treatments. I was out of work for a year. During this stressful period of my life I realized that many people were much worse off than I was. I donated time at a children’s hospital assisting children who were terminal.

“I was able to recover from my condition, but I felt a deep sense of wanting to help others in life — I no longer wanted to be a hard-driving entrepreneur.”

Last December, Bill experienced another life-altering event: he met Sandy Dent, a 30-year resident of Cambria. Sandy has been involved with the world of art by owning a picture-framing business for artists and collectors for several years.

“The more time Sandy and I spent together, the more we found how much we had in common. We came to the conclusion that a new art gallery in Cambria would be a good idea, especially if we featured mostly local artists,” Bill said with a warm smile.

Among the local artists featured are Phil Hauser, Mary Anderson and Dennis Curry. Several of Sandy Dent’s colorful hand-painted crystal healing fabrics are also on display.

And that is how The Fire Dove Fine Art Gallery at 789 Main St. came into being on May 21.

“When Sandy and I learned of Nick’s upcoming birthday,” Bill explained, “we decided to hold a birthday party for him and feature several of his creations. We will also display many photographs from Nick’s wonderful acting career, including scenes from two of his famous movies, ‘On The Waterfront’ and ‘Some Like It Hot.’”

In keeping with Bill’s desire to help others, the gallery will donate 20 percent of all profits from sales of Nick’s art to Hospice Partners of the Central Coast (HPCC). Hospice is a concept of care that treats the person instead of the disease, and emphasizes the quality of life, instead of its duration. Hospice care allows terminally ill patients and their families the opportunity to experience the end of life together, in the comfort and security of their home.

OK, come to The Fire Dove Gallery on Saturday, Aug. 6, to celebrate Nick’s 92nd birthday and enjoy the displayed art works and sort through the collection of photos from the more than 40 movies Nick was in.

The party will be from 2 to 6 p.m. and Nick will be present. The gallery will be open from 10:30 a.m. until 9 p.m. — or later, if necessary. Call Bill at 203-5275 for more information.

See you there.

E-mail John Brannon at