PARKERSBURG - Actor Paul Dooley had a full schedule Friday as he participated in three events in his honor throughout the city.
Dooley began his day by speaking to students at Parkersburg High School, from which he graduated in 1945, where he gave two assemblies - one for all students and another for students in the drama club, to whom he gave advice.
"As an actor, you only work about half of the time and, at a certain point, you take every job offered," he told the roughly 50 people in the audience.
Drama students at Parkersburg High School listen to Paul Dooley speak Friday during a gathering in the school's auditorium. (Photo by Jeff Baughan)
Actor Paul Dooley introduces his film “Breaking Away” at the Smoot Theatre Friday evening with his lifelong friend, Evelyn Goudy of Vienna, sitting at his side. (Photo by Jolene Craig)
Paul Dooley, right, greets Parkersburg High student Jonathan Henson at the school Friday after the actor spoke to the school's drama class. (Photo by Jeff Baughan)
Lori Zyla, drama teacher at PHS, said her students have been excited about Dooley's presence in the school for several weeks.
"They have great respect for anyone with a background in comedy and improv and Mr. Dooley is great at both," Zyla said.
Not only did Dooley show off some of his clown tricks and told the drama students about his days of stand-up comedy, but also was treated to the performance of a one-act play written by himself and his wife, Winnie Holzman, "Post It Notes on a Marriage."
"That was terrific," Dooley told the students.
Dooley then gave the small crowd a taste of his stand-up comedy routine as well as performed a Vaudeville routine for them with his son Adam, who accompanied him on this trip home.
In closing, the veteran actor gave the students more advice in their future careers on the stage and screen.
"Persevere. Stick to it," he said. "A great deal of it is perseverance and not being discouraged.
"The key is not to make money, but to enjoy the experience," Dooley added.
In the evening, Dooley attended a reception in his honor and met with city and county officials as well as old friends and local thespians at the Blennerhassett Hotel.
One of those is one of Dooley's lifelong friends.
Evelyn Goudy of Vienna said she and Dooley grew up near one another.
"He tells people I'm his first fan," Goudy said. "We've kept in touch over the years.
"There's nothing better than a guy-girl friendship," she added.
Goudy also sat with the actor during his final appearance of the day when his film "Breaking Away" was shown at the Smoot Theatre.
"This is the best film I've ever done," Dooley told the crowd of about 60 people. "Every job I've had since came from this movie."
Today Dooley also has a full schedule with a screening of his 1980 film "Popeye" at the Parkersburg Actors Guild at 11 a.m. before he acts as grand marshal of the Parkersburg Easter Parade at 2 p.m. along Market Street.
Easter Parade organizer Kiki Angelos said the parade will not be canceled and will go on in case of rain.
"There's no way we will cancel with Mr. Dooley in town," she said. "I don't think we will be able to get him back if we rescheduled."
In the final event of his long weekend, Dooley will attend a showing of his film "A Wedding" at 7 p.m. today at the Smoot.
Dooley, 84, has performed in numerous television and theater shows as well as movies, and is best known for films "Breaking Away," "Hairspray" and "Sixteen Candles." He voiced the character "Sarge" in the animated films "Cars" and "Cars 2."
Recently, Dooley filmed an episode of the TV Land series "Hot in Cleveland" as popular actress Betty White's love interest.
"At least now I know I'm going to have to watch 'Hot in Cleveland' when it's on," said Goudy. "I've seen everything Paul has done and will continue to see everything he continues to do."
These events are sponsored by the Parkersburg Actors Guild, the Parkersburg Art Center, the Parkersburg Easter Parade Committee and the Blennerhassett Hotel.