Cherry Hill Manor recently rolled out the red carpet in celebration of Nursing Home Week with a big screen production during their Hollywood Nights.
Residents were entertained with daily events, such as glamour day with photographs taken for residents to enjoy, movie matinees featuring films like Casablanca complete with an old fashioned popcorn maker, and interactive activities such as Hollywood Bingo, trivia contests and games.
Cherry Hill Manor staff dressed as paparazzi and movie stars throughout the week, and any staff member who participated in the dress-up festivities was entered into a drawing for a prize of their own-a paid day off.
In addition to the festivities, those at Cherry Hill Manor also celebrated with a star of their own. Chris Murphy was born in New York and blessed with both acting and singing talent. At 16 years of age Chris was an usherette at the then Paramount Theater in New York. One of her co-workers was Vic Damone, another usher at the theater. Vic and Chris often would sing duets together during their break times.
Vic Damone later went on to become a well-known Italian-American pop/big band singer who recorded many songs including the popular “On the Street Where You Live” and “You’re Breaking My Heart”.
Chris’s uncle, Joe Diskay, was a Hungarian tenor. He was encouraged by Joseph Pasternick (the Hungarian born American producer of MGM) to leave war-torn Europe and come to California. Her uncle followed his advice and came to America where he opened up a studio on Sunset Boulevard giving voice lessons. He encouraged Chris’s parents to move to California so that he could give voice lessons to Chris. Many of Chris’s aunts lived in California, which made the move an enjoyable venture.
Chris’s career blossomed in many areas including singing, modeling and acting in plays. She co-starred with Jack Palance in the play “Dead End.” Soon Chris started acting in TV programs - among them M Squad and 77 Sunset Strip.
The lead actor in 77 Sunset Strip was Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. and the lead actress was Linda Donnell. Chris was Linda Donnell’s stand-in; therefore she had to know every word and action performed and had to study Linda’s character in the event that she had to step in. This did happen when Linda injured her leg and could not perform.
When one talks to Chris about her acting career, you can see the twinkle in her eyes and feel the love she put into all of her performances.
Chris came to Cherry Hill Manor after sustaining an episode of vertigo which caused a fall and a fractured pelvis. As staff visited her at her home, she shares with them some of her “show business” albums.
Chris’s life today is filled with memories and enjoying her family and friends. The day Chris left Cherry Hill Manor to return home was the start of Nursing Home Week. With this year’s theme of “Hollywood Nights,” as Chris left our building, her favorite song – “Someone To Watch Over Me” - was being performed on the piano by one of Cherry Hill’s activity staff. This touching moment was enjoyed by Chris’s daughter and the Cherry Hill Manor staff as she added her voice to the music. Chris then posed on the red carpet.
It appears that Cherry Hill Manor now has a “Hollywood legend,” Chris Murphy, who will always be part of the Cherry Hill family.