Local actress Sylvia Froman appears in ‘Bernie’
by Donalevan Maines
“Without gossip, a quarrel dies down.” (Proverbs 26:20). Yet here’s our friend Sylvia Froman, the veteran actress and chanteuse, playing a small-town gossip telling tales in the new DVD release Bernie.
Writer/director Richard Linklater of Austin wanted audiences to hear authentic accents for the movie set in East Texas. So, Froman explains, “To audition, you had to be from either Texas or Louisiana, or they did not want to see you.”
Froman hails from Lake Charles, Louisiana, but now lives in the Memorial area. “I sang in choir in high school, but I didn’t get into theater until I did a show at Theater Inc. in Montrose,” says the graduate of San Jacinto High School.
You never ask a star her age, but suffice to say that Froman is younger than Bernie’s Oscar-winning co-star Shirley MacLaine, who allows that she was born a Taurus on April 24, 1934, in Richmond, Virginia. “The older I get, the more opportunities I have to work,” says Froman, who sprayed her blonde hair with a new white coloring for her roles in two scenes of Bernie.
Young’uns might know Froman best from her work with Paul Hope and Bayou City Concert Musicals, Stages Repertory Theatre, and Theatre Under the Stars (TUTS), but Houston’s original jet set remembers Froman and her late husband, Jay, as stars of the 1960s “opera bar” in Market Square called Les Quatre Saisons (translated: The Four Seasons).
Froman met her second husband, the late Cliff Thompson, when he played the title role in a production of The Most Happy Fella. She played Cleo.
Represented by Pastorini-Bosby Talent Agency, Froman has filmed many TV segments, commercials, and industrial videos, in addition to performing voice-overs, including a scene in which the characters played by Black and MacLaine embark on international travels.
Previously, Froman acted opposite other Hollywood stars in Houston Music Theatre productions of The Unsinkable Molly Brown (Barbara Eden), Little Me (Arte Johnson), and Mame (Gingers Rogers), among others. Froman played Mame at Casa Mañana in Fort Worth.
Among her roles at TUTS: Mama Rose in Gypsy, Aunt Alicia in Gigi, Madame Dubonnet in The Boy Friend, and Mrs. Higgins in My Fair Lady (opposite Noel Harrison, whose father, Rex Harrison, won the Academy Award as Henry Higgins in the movie version and a Tony Award onstage).
Currently single, Froman is accomplished at ballroom dancing, golf, bicycling, piano, tennis, and knitting, among other talents.