Henry Sumid was a Pasadena Playhouse College of Theatre Arts graduate, Class of 1940.  He worked professionally as a graphic artist and once retired, took up sculpting in his Los Angeles studio. Hank had success with his work and won Southern California regional awards. He also gave private and semi-private instruction in drawing and watercolor in his studio.

Upon his death, the Pasadena Playhouse Alumni & Associates received a large bequest from Mr. Sumid.   The bequest also charged the association with creating a scholarship for students of the arts with these funds.  Hank so enjoyed his years at the Pasadena Playhouse that he wanted others to have a similar experience, and he recognized that financial assistance is vital to a college education.

Return to the Sumid Scholarship home page.


The Pasadena Playhouse opened at the present site in 1925, and the School of the Theatre officially opened with 24 students, in 1928. It became an accredited College of Theatre Arts in 1936, awarding both a Bachelor and Master of Theatre Arts degree to those with sufficient undergraduate credits. Others received an Associate of Theatre Arts certificate, and a six-week summer session was also offered.  The Alumni Association was founded in 1953, and has always been an active part of the Playhouse.

With the advent of "talkies", Hollywood sent its stars to the Playhouse to learn to 'speak'.  Many well-known 'names' trained at this prestigious school, among them, Robert Young, Barbara Rush, Victor Jory, Raymond Burr, Dustin Hoffman, Gene Hackman, and Sally Struthers. In 1937, the Pasadena Playhouse was named the State Theatre of California.

Competition increased with well-equipped college and university drama departments across the country.   The Playhouse faced mounting competition from film and television, the many theatres popping up throughout Southern California.Unfortunately, the school and the theatre closed permanently in June 1969, after graduating its last class.

When the theatre came back to life in 1985, the PPA&A went to work to help bring back its former glory.   The Alumni play a vital role in collecting and maintaining the Playhouse Archives, and give tours of the Pasadena Playhouse. Our single greatest contribution to our beloved alma mater is the creation and administration of The Henry and Joyce Sumid Scholarship for needy students of the arts.

Return to the Sumid Scholarship home page.