Ann (Annie Trout) Garcelon
We have lost a witty, vivacious and talented writer and member of our Santa Barbara community in Ann “Annie” Garcelon, who passed away on June 5, 2018, at the age of 75. The Boston native, who grew up in Memphis, was a graduate of The Hutchinson School in Memphis and Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. She stumbled into her career in journalism at the Pompano Beach (FL) Sun-Sentinel. With almost no experience, she dazzled in her interview and eclipsed many other writers with long resumes for the position of features writer.
In 1966 she moved to New York City and joined the Associated Press, becoming a feature writer in the Living Today department. There she first worked with Lynn Sherr producing educational film strips. “Her soothing Tennessee accent belied a piercing curiosity and wicked humor,” Sherr recalls.
In 1970, the “Mod Squad” was launched and Annie was one of six women AP reporters, covering the counter culture. She became the group’s fashion reporter, a free-spirited southerner who tracked everything from love beads to midi-skirts, and wore them all.
Other interviews included a 1973 piece about the Alice Cooper band, then making a comeback tour. She described Alice as “more specter than superstar in Ming the Merciless makeup on pale skin, experiencing a mock decapitation after singing ‘I love the Dead’.”
She also interviewed chess wizard Bobby Fischer in September 1971, before his record-shattering victory over Boris Spassky during the height of the Cold War. After challenging Fischer to a game, Annie described the encounter. “Bobby Fischer slams his chessmen across a plastic fold-up board with the intensity of a boxer training on the heavy bag.”
Annie left the AP in the early 1970s and worked as an editor at The New York Times, then Variety magazine in Los Angeles. She moved to L.A. in the 1980s when she decided to try her hand at screenwriting, and was accepted into the American Film Institute graduate program. With best friend and fellow ‘Mod Squad’ writer Jurate Kazickas, she wrote a script “Will You Marry Me?” that grabbed the attention of agents at renowned Creative Arts Agency.
In the early 2000s, she visited Santa Barbara. It was love at first sight. The town became her home and the base for her freelance writing. As a valued member of the Christian Science church, she brought intelligence, enthusiasm, and warmth to local church activities and events. She was also a treasured member of Mesa Writers, where the wit in her short personal essays brought smiles, if not outright guffaws. Adding to her roster of skills, she also studied songwriting with Nicola Gordon. One of her favorite songs, based on her personal experience, was “No One Looks Good on a Walker”.
Her fellow writers in the Friday Writers’ Group appreciated her enthusiastic encouragement and support for our efforts. Her effervescence and creativity will truly be missed by friends and colleagues.
A memorial is planned sometime in the coming months. If you want to be notified of the details, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact information. Donations in her name can be made to Girls Inc. of Carpinteria and New Beginnings in Santa Barbara for homeless veterans.