Maureen Dragone, a member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association who was the only person to attend all 70 of the Golden Globe ceremonies, died Feb. 8 at a Los Angeles hospice following a brief illness. She was 93.
As the recognized historian for the HFPA, she authored Who Makes the Golden Globes Go Around, an intriguing account of the formation of the HFPA, rich with stories from the early days of Hollywood.
Dragone wrote for various international newspapers and magazines and interviewed hundreds of stars during the course of her career. She was recently given an honorary life membership to the association and appeared in good health Jan. 13 when she attended the 70th annual Globes at the Beverly Hilton.
Dragone’s mother, Nora Laing, who also died at age 93, was one of the founders of the HFPA. Original discussions regarding the formation of the organization and the Globes ceremony took place at the dining-room table in her home. The first Globes event took place in 1944 at the Fox studios.
In 1978, Dragone founded the Youth in Film Association to acknowledge the talent and achievements of actors and musicians under the age of 21. In 2000, the association became known as the Young Artist Foundation, additionally honoring those in live theater, and presented the inaugural Young Artist Awards ceremony.
Now in its 34th year, the nonprofit organization also has recognized the achievements of youth in other fields of the performing arts including dance, commercials, journalism, radio and stand-up comedy. It also grants scholarships, funded by donations, to performing arts schools of choice for youngsters who may be financially or physically challenged. The HFPA is a prominent contributor to this cause.
This year’s Young Artist Awards ceremony is set for May 5 at the Sportsmen’s Lodge in Studio City. It will feature a tribute to Dragone.
Asked in 2010 by a HFPA volunteer and her young daughter to reveal the secret of her vitality, Dragone replied, “Well, I only eat candy.”
Survivors include her devoted partner of 25 years, Dan Kitchel; her daughter Shirley; her grandchildren Heather, Holly and Frank; and her great-grandchildren Samantha, Don, Alexandra and Benjamin.
Donations to the Young Artists Scholarship Fund can be made in Dragone’s name to the Young Artist Foundation at 5632 Colfax Ave., North Hollywood, CA, 91601.