Fan wants details about David Tutera

Tuesday , March 18, 2014 - 12:36 PM

Rich Heldenfels

Q: I so admire David Tutera. Can you tell me about him? He appears to have a significant other (silver ring). He has to be amazingly wealthy: his own show, dress and jewelry lines, Most of all, he seems to be a very nice person.

A: Here's part of the official biography of the events planner and "My Fair Wedding" star: "Tutera's grandfather, a successful florist, first noticed his grandson's artistic ability at an early age and encouraged David to pursue his destiny. At age 19, with the sound advice of his grandfather and only one client, David opened his own events planning business. Today, David Tutera presides over an award winning company built from experience, dedication and Tutera's natural talent for transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary. His name has become synonymous with style, elegance, creativity and vision."

He grew up in Port Chester, N.Y., and tried acting in high school and college before taking "a detour," as he told the New York Times in 1998. "I opened a little shop in Larchmont, near the movie theater, selling gifts and balloons, and one day when I had the window all glitzed up in black and silver with plumes and glitter, a woman waiting on the movie line saw my window display and asked me if I could create a similar look for her son's bar mitzvah. I accepted immediately. That party got me started in an industry I didn't even know existed."

He and his longtime partner, Ryan Jurica, had a civil union in Vermont in 2003. You can read more about his businesses and activities at

Q: I have been watching "The Bold and the Beautiful" since it started. Isn't the one who's playing Karen Spencer the real Caroline, Ridge's first wife, or am I wrong? If I am right, how dare they?

A: Joanna Johnson has played both Karen Spencer and Caroline Spencer Forrester on the CBS soap opera. Johnson has been so popular with viewers that, after Caroline was killed off in 1990, the show dared to bring her back in 1991 as Caroline's twin sister Karen. Johnson stopped being a series regular in 1994. As reported, she "only acts these days when paged by the soap (for guest appearances). Now her claim to fame is behind the scenes, as co-executive producer and writer of the hit ABC Family series 'Make It or Break It.' Before that, she created the Kelly Ripa-Faith Ford sitcom 'Hope & Faith.'"

But she did get called back by the soap again recently. And that appearance was a surprise, because Karen suddenly had a previously unknown daughter, also named Caroline, after her sister.

Q: Many years ago, perhaps late '40s on NBC in NYC, there was a program called, "Broadway Open House." It featured Dagmar, Jerry Lester, cello player Morey Amsterdam and a young accordion player who later appeared on the Welk show. Whatever happened to Dagmar and Jerry Lester?

A: For those of you tuning in late, Broadway Open House was "the granddaddy of all of television's informal talk shows," according to "The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows." It aired in the 11 p.m. hour on NBC in 1950-51, years before the network launched the "Tonight" show. Lester and Amsterdam -- later famous as Buddy on "The Dick Van Dyke Show" -- hosted on different nights; the orchestra leader was Milton DeLugg, an accordionist whose many other credits would include leading the band on "The Gong Show." (Welk's accordionist was Myron Floren.)

Lester introduced Dagmar (actually an actress from West Virginia named Jennie Lewis) as a comedic character, a stereotypically dumb, buxom blonde. According to "The Complete Directory," she became as big a star as Lester, to his resentment; unable to rein her in, Lester quit the show; his successor, Jack Leonard, could not keep it going for long. Dagmar had a short-lived 1952 series, "Dagmar's Canteen," in 1952, then worked occasionally on stage, including in Las Vegas. She was 79 when she died in 2001. Lester continued to work in stage and screen comedies until 1975 when, according to the New York Times, he stopped performing because he had Alzheimer's. He died in 1995 at the age of 85.

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