Venice, Calif. - Norman Skaggs, 58, respected actor, proud father, passionate reader, true friend, and, despite his venerable New England beginnings, a mainstay of his Venice, Calif. neighborhood, died of cancer on Aug. 9, 2013, at the UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica.
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Born in New London, Norman was the youngest child and only son of Belgium-born Denyse Godenne and American-made Gordon Skaggs. Perhaps in response to the confluence of his parents' very different cultural orientations, he possessed a scholar's affection for language and history coupled with a passion for athletics.
A star athlete in high school, he studied languages as intently as he did football playbooks. Upon graduation, he went on to star on the football team at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. But Norman's collegiate football career was interrupted by injury and, in its stead, he spent his junior year studying in Besancon, France. He returned home fluent in French and hopelessly in love with the theatre. His major changed to literature and, though his devotion to sports and conditioning never wavered, his career path changed dramatically.
Post Colby, Norman pursued his interest in theatre to the Graduate Acting Studies program at the University of Connecticut. His career in theater and film took him to New York City, San Francisco, and Hollywood. He relocated to Los Ganeles and worked steadily in film and television throughout the 1980's and 90's. Independent features and numerous guest star roles with ABC, NBC, and CBS landed him plum parts in a series of movies, "Decoration Day" (with James Garner), "Shadow of a Doubt" (with Mark Harmon), "Chrome Soldiers", the "Flood", and "Getting Out." Within the last five years, he re-surfaced in local theatre.
Norman will be sorely missed and is survived by his aunts, Baroness Ghislaine Godenne, M.D. of Baltimore, Md., and Dr. Mary McCrea-Curnen of Groton, Mass., his uncle, Dr. Jacques Godenne and aunt, Elizabeth, both of Belgium; and by his sisters, Audrey Fay of Enfield and Yvonne Sims of Waterford; and by his two greatest loves, his wife, Mihal Shapiro Skaggs and their eight year old daughter, Ariella, at their home in Venice.
There will be a memorial service in Los Angeles on Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013.
Anyone wishing to make a memorial donation for Norm, please visit
Published in The Day on Aug. 21, 2013