My Friend the Movie Star

My Real Memoir

Friendships shuffled during my freshman year in high school. My two childhood BFFs were still around, of course, and new friendships were popping up like Iowa corn. But my most unlikely friend that year was a bonafide movie star named Roger Mobley. Heck, I knew girls who had his picture on their locker doors! I met Roger through a wannabe friend named Mike. I’d always been a little uncomfortable around Mike, but couldn’t quite figure out why. But when he told me he’d somehow managed to arrange a meeting with the star of Disney’s Emmy-nominated Wonderful World of Color mini-series The Adventures of Gallagher, I said, “I’m in, my friend!” The plan was to interview Roger for an article in our school paper.

To my surprise, Roger lived in a run-down suburb of nearby Whittier. Child actor protection laws required his veritable fortune, earned from well over a hundred film and TV appearances, be kept in a trust fund until his eighteenth birthday. And so, although he was technically wealthy, Roger and his family of ten lived in a smaller house than I did.

I’ve never met a humbler person. Frankly, I was far more vain about my little gaggle of high school drama devotees than Roger was about his millions of fans, most of them female. I wanted to shout, “Dude, if you don’t want ‘em, send ‘em to me!”

He’d been discovered as a cute-but-untrained eight-year-old and cast in a lead role in Fury, a Saturday morning TV series I’d grown up with. “Uncle Walt” thought the world of this unassuming, natural talent. In fact, the last thing Disney ever wrote was a memo about what to cast Roger in next.

But Roger wanted to be a truck driver. That’s right, while I dreamed of being, well, him, he fantasized about buying a big rig and hauling loads of manure to Bakersfield! Mismatched aspirations notwithstanding, we got on famously, and kept in touch for a time. Mike seemed thrilled to know both of us.

The following fall, Roger came to our first play of the school year. No one could believe I was friends with a “real actor” like movie star Roger Mobley! But afterward, Roger took me aside and said, “Mitch, I just pretend to act. You’re the real actor.”

Two years later, he was drafted, eventually becoming a Green Beret. But when he returned home, his fortune had mysteriously disappeared. Undaunted, Roger married his high school sweetheart, started a large family, and served a long and distinguished career in law enforcement. Meanwhile, I, of course, became the living legend I am today.

And Mike? In the front of my yearbook that spring he wrote, “To a ferry sweet girlfriend of mind [‘mine?’]. I know you have a sense of humor and may think it a joke, but it isn’t.” At the time, I thought it was simply an odd quip. But now? Well, it seems I never really understood Mike, or the things he was wrestling with. I can only hope that he, like our mutual friend Roger and I, found his way…

To a happy and meaningful life.

My Real Memoir is a series. To read the next one, click here.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Humor, Memoir and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to My Friend the Movie Star

  1. A great story! What a horrible thing for Roger to get ripped-off like that!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wynne Leon says:

    What a great compliment on your acting, Mitch! And Roger is a testament to resilience – beautiful and inspirational!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Pingback: Bringing My Darkness Into the Light | Mitch Teemley

  4. If it was in a trust fund, the trustee cannot withdraw from the fund for his own purposes. Very likely, since he was an honest kid, he learned that from his parents. I would suspect the agent… but then I watch too many police procedurals…

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Fascinating story! I see multiple spiritual lessons in it 🤔

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Roger was certainly humble and very kind to give you a compliment to boost your confidence as an actor-although I don’t think you needed a confidence booster, Mitch the Legend!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A great story, Mitch. Sounds like you learned things from and about Roger you never dreamed of. Wonderful memories of a rich friendship. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pam Webb says:

    You have such deep pockets when it comes to pulling out another great memory, Mitch!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. revruss1220 says:

    Wow! What a great story and great memory! I was a regular “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color” viewer, but for the life of my I don’t remember the Gallagher series.
    Lots of lessons to be gleaned from this colorful chapter of your life. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mitchteemley says:

      The Gallegher mysteries, based on a popular book series, ran as recurring multi-episode specials on Disney’s Wonderful World until 1968, when Roger was drafted. That instantly ended his acting career, but I doubt he missed it all that much; it was just something he’d fallen into as a kid, and he always had other aspirations.


  10. Thotaramani says:

    You are a really good friend to him Mitch with high level maturity

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Ann Coleman says:

    I remember loving Fury as a child! You’ve sure known some interesting people…thanks for sharing their stories!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. gpavants says:


    That’s cool. You both made and are still making your mark in the world

    In Christ,


    Liked by 1 person

  13. Another great memoir, Mitch. I always enjoy reading the stories of your younger years.

    Liked by 1 person

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