George Werier has been a gangster, a banker, and a salesman—and those are just his acting roles. His work in real life is even more varied. Most Santa Barbara residents know “Captain George” Werier from his cable TV show Alive After 65, which is produced for seniors and tackles issues including health, world peace, culture, art, and music. (Having just celebrated his 90th birthday, he jokes he may change the program’s name to Alive After 85.) But his activities go beyond the rigors of putting together a weekly TV show.
Severely visually impaired, Werier regularly attends arts and crafts classes at the Braille Institute. He is a beloved and inspirational member of the local 12-step recovery community, and has served on the boards of many groups, including the county’s Alcohol and Drug Program and the Area Agency on Aging. He has been an advisor to the city’s recreation programs, volunteered for the French Festival, and organized plays at the Goleta Valley Community Center’s old Triangle Club.
His work in radio, theater, and television—he’s appeared in more than 50 TV shows, mostly in the 1950s and ’60s—makes him a natural in the community access TV studio. (The nickname “Captain” stuck, as he’s played several captain characters and often dons a captain’s cap.) Combining all that performance experience with natural curiosity and confidence, he’s spent the last 16 years working to inform and entertain Santa Barbara audiences. Werier exudes a healthy sense of humor and a friendly, laid-back demeanor. He’s learned to take things as they come. “Acceptance is the key to living,” he said. And he continues to challenge himself. “Why waste your ability?” Werier wasted nothing on a recent sunny afternoon. He’d been working on a play and was getting ready to go to the Jewish Federation Center, where he delivered a speech at a luncheon. It’s been a long journey since that day when he was three years old, stepping onto a stage for the first time, acting in 77 Sunset Strip, The Untouchables, and The Red Skelton Show. Now he’s the captain of his destiny, always ready to perform.