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Steenburgen Returns Home to Teach

May 27, 2002

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NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) _ Mary Steenburgen went back to the high school she attended to teach drama workshops in the memory of a student killed in a traffic accident.

In April, the actress taught a pair of acting sessions to high school drama students from across Arkansas in the memory of Thea Leopoulos, who died a year ago.

The girl’s father said Thea never would have imagined an Oscar-winning actress teaching her drama class. ``As humble as Thea was, she never would have expected that,″ Paul Leopoulos said. ``She never would have hoped for it because she was always giving.″

Steenburgen said that while she can’t experience their loss, she offered to help Thea’s parents in any way.

So the Leopoulos family asked her to teach the classes to help drama students decide whether professional acting is the right career choice. The actress told them that leaving for New York, like she did 30 years ago, isn’t for everyone.

``You don’t have to be in some big venue for it to be good,″ she says.

Steenburgen won a best-supporting actress Oscar for 1980′s ``Melvin and Howard.″

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