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Arts Center's Kendrick Is Hospitalized

January 16, 1986|HERMAN WONG | Times Staff Writer

Thomas R. Kendrick, executive director of the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa, was in "stable condition and improving" Wednesday after he was hospitalized for chest pains, Center officials said.

The extent of Kendrick's ailment won't be known until he undergoes additional tests at Hoag Memorial Hospital in Newport Beach this week, Center officials said. Kendrick, 51, has been in the hospital's cardiac unit since Sunday evening.

"His prognosis is very good and we're hoping he will be fully recovered in a very short time," said Timothy Strader, Center board president and chief executive officer. He said Kendrick was not known to have had any previous heart problems.

Strader said Judith O'Dea Morr, Center general manager and Kendrick's top deputy, will assume Kendrick's duties while he is recovering.

'Hired as a Team'

"There's no problem here. Tom and Judy, after all, were hired by us as a team. It's business as usual, and we don't anticipate any problems in (booking) negotiations or construction or any other (administrative) area because of this. We will be in constant touch by phone with Tom," Strader said.

The Center's 3,000-seat multipurpose theater, part of a $70.7-million project, is scheduled to open Sept. 29 in Costa Mesa's South Coast Plaza Town Center.

In June, 1984, the Center's first executive director, Len Bedsow, announced he was retiring because of his age--67--and the stress of the job. Bedsow had undergone open-heart surgery six months earlier.

Kendrick's appointment followed a 10-month, nationwide search that, members of local arts groups contended, resulted in key delays in certain booking and construction-design decisions.

Since Kendrick assumed the post full time last September, he has been in intensive rounds of booking negotiations, construction supervision, fund drives, staff hirings and meetings with community organizations.

Stress Not a Factor

Last October the Center announced the cost of the first phase of construction had risen to $70.7-million--a $13.4-million increase from 1983 estimates. As of Dec. 31, the Center had raised $56.8 million.

But Strader on Wednesday dismissed speculation that stress might be a factor in Kendrick's ailment. "Not at all. I just don't believe that (theory) as a major factor," he said.

Kendrick, a one-time assistant managing editor at the Washington Post, became director of operations at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington in 1976. Morr, who assumed her Orange County post last August, joined the Kennedy Center in 1972 and was named the Kennedy Center's general manager of theaters in 1979.

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