- Associated Press - Monday, November 24, 2014

PARAGOULD, Ark. (AP) - A small crowd gathers around the piano in Greene Acres Nursing Home monthly as Sam Turpin and Lillian White perform together.

Turpin, a 71-year-old resident of the home and Greene County, sings while White plays the piano. He sings songs from artists such as Elvis Presley, Kenny Rodgers, and Neil Diamond. He has quite a few fans among the residents, the Paragould Daily Press (https://bit.ly/1uMmZPh ) reported.

Singing is his passion. He was active in the Greene County Fine Arts Association and the Jonesboro Fine Arts Association. He was in musicals like “Annie,” ”The Music Man” and “Showboat.” He can still quote some of his lines from “The Music Man.” He said he was in 63 off-Broadway plays and musicals total.

One of his proudest moments was with his band Main Street Blues. They opened the Handy Blues Award Show in November 1985 to a sellout crowd in Memphis, Tennessee. Hosting the show was Willie Nelson and B.B. King. Turpin said they opened the show with “St. James Infirmary.”

The band was active from the mid 1980s to the early 1990s, performing in clubs on Beale Street. He played the bass, acoustic guitar and keyboards.

Turpin said he wants to someday write a screenplay and direct. He said he and his writing partner Zan Haney, an actor known locally as Larry, have written a screenplay together called “Fruit of the Vine.” Turpin is very proud of the work.

“I can see it on the movie screen in my mind,” says Tuprin.

Turpin said they wrote the script with Clint Eastwood in mind to play a large role in the movie.

Haney and Turpin took a trip to California in 2013 in hopes of running into Eastwood at Mission Ranch Bar and Grill in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. They were hoping to get their screenplay to him and heard he ate dinner there every night. They were unsuccessful, though, but they are still hopeful.

“I know there are a lot of obstacles in front of us,” said Turpin, “but that doesn’t stop my dream from coming true.”

Turpin’s love for writing grew out of the creative writing courses he took at Arkansas State University, including one with Haney. Turpin said all he wants to do for the rest of his life is write.

Turpin and Haney have written a children’s book titled “Little Sammy Doesn’t Belong Here.” Haney said the book is currently being illustrated. He is hoping to find a literary agent and get the book published next year.

Turpin grew up on a farm in eastern Greene County. He said he helped to pick cotton, feed horses and milk cows. He drove to Paragould most weekends to ride around and spend time with his friends.

He graduated from Greene County Tech in 1960. He went to the University of Missouri in St. Louis, where he graduated with a degree in broadcast journalism.

He was a disc jockey at KDRS in Paragould for seven years before moving to Little Rock, where he worked at KLAZ. He also worked at the Arkansas Radio Network. After that, he was a news anchor on the noon show at KAIT with Terry Wood.

Turpin spent 20 years in radio and television. During that time, he was appointed to the Arkansas Film Commission by then Governor Bill Clinton.

Turpin still has big dreams and is working hard to see them fulfilled. He is proof that you are never too old to have a dream.


Information from: Paragould Daily Press, https://www.paragoulddailypress.com/

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