Track Alum Sammie Wayne Brings Home Hardware
Sept. 3, 2010
LOS ANGELES - The red carpet, the paparazzi, the lights, the music, the stars, the acceptance speeches...all the elements of a Hollywood awards show. On Monday, amidst the glitz and glamour, the spotlight was on a DePaul sprinter from the early eighties, Sammie Wayne.
Wayne captured Best Supporting Actor in a Local Production at the 20th Annual NAACP Theatre Awards held at the Director's Guild of America Theatre in Los Angeles on Monday, August 30. Wayne was recognized for his work as Michael in One Woman, Two Lives where he worked alongside Kellita Smith, known for her role on The Bernie Mac Show.
“This award means everything,” Wayne said. “I came out here in 1985 and 25 years later, to be recognized by the committee members, that means everything. It is a huge compliment.”
Wayne’s journey to Monday night’s award ceremony isn’t the typical path though it would be a great Hollywood story. A 1984 computer science graduate, Wayne entered the corporate world before deciding to move to California to pursue his passion in theatre.
His resume covers the gambit of roles in the theatre world. Wayne has worked as an actor on stage and screen, producer, stage manager, booking manager, technical director, lighting director, house manager, Light Board Operator and stage manager.
“Ironically, it means something a little more because twice I served as the assistant director for the NAACP Theatre Awards,” Wayne said. ‘To have helped run things back stage and now to receive the honor makes it just that much more unreal to receive this honor.”
Wayne has recently added another job to his resume, that of directing. Currently, Wayne is directing “New Eyes” a one-woman show starring Yafit Josephson which currently running in Santa Monica, Calif. The show was initially slated for a short run, but has been expanded and has been gaining interest among the theatre world with a possibility of a run in New York in December.
Wayne credits DePaul track in his development as a leader, whether it be on stage or back stage.
"DePaul Track was important in my development. Coach (John) Caldow named me captain for three years and I believe that experience helped me learn about relationships and people skills," Wayne said. "I grateful for those experiences and those leadership experiences are something I draw from when I am doing things whether it be on stage or back stage."
As Blue Demon Wayne excelled on the track as one of the early leaders of DePaul's sprint corp. Highly touted as a prep at Kenwood Academy in Chicago after winning the city championship in the 400m and 200m in 1978, Wayne didn't disappoint. The three-time captain was part of six school record-holding relay teams upon his graduation.
Wayne and a quartet made of Hall of Famer Jim Birgans, Zamon Gray and Harold Tolliver set a DePaul record in the 4x200-meter relay in 1982 that remained the Blue Demon standard until 2006 when the mark was eclipsed by Jamal Cornelious, Donnie Smith, Patrick Smith and Gabe Harris.
“Whew!!! I am still floating,” Wayne said. “This is the most awesome feeling in my life other than the birth of my daughter. I can still barely believe it.”