Many Names, Many Faces
For Seamus Oneal, the idea of having one career and one name was much too timid. By 52, he had worked in five widely different professions, using three different names. As James, he studied drama at the University of Oklahoma, and as Seam, he acted, danced and sang in Off Broadway shows. "It would be fair," said John Oneal, his brother, "to call him a hippie."
Seam Oneal the hippie joined the Army, became Captain Oneal and won medals for his work in hospital administration. Nevertheless, after converting to Mormonism, he and Janet Kaye, his wife, and their three children moved into a bed and breakfast by a big Maryland temple and ran it together. Eventually, though, he returned to college to study advanced computer science, moved to Manhattan and took a job with eSpeed, a division of Cantor Fitzgerald.
Along the way, he composed liturgical choral works that were played by the Mormon temple's orchestra. And he dropped Seam and became Seamus. "He said, 'There might be other Jameses,' " said his brother, " 'but there won't be other Seamuses.' He was something. A piece of art."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on November 28, 2001.