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THE BEST YEARS : SENIORS : Inside a Mobile : Peter and Luisa Hyun find the peaceful seaside supports the books they're both writing.

June 14, 1990|NORMA BARZMAN

Whom do you expect to be living in a mobile home in Oxnard? A Midwestern family eager for sunshine? A young bride and groom starting out? Certainly not a couple of super sophisticates like Peter and Luisa Hyun.

Peter Hyun, 83, is a theatrical director, educator and author. In spite of recent cancer surgery, he plays tennis every day and works on the sequel to his book, "Man Sei: The Making of a Korean American."

Luisa, 75, one of the beautiful Powers Models of the '30s, was known as the Woodbury Soap Filtered Sunshine Girl. In the Woodbury ad, seen all over America, the great photographer Edward Steichen had snapped her in a provocative nude pose, barely shielded by the iron arm of a sundial. She is now writing a book about how three of her many marriages took her into the world of theater and cinema. She calls it "Carole Lombard Gave Me a Jersey Cow for a Wedding Present--and Other Stories."

"Gary Cooper was the best man at my wedding to Jack Moss," said Luisa, who was born Louise Stewart. "There was something exciting about all my marriages. Moss was the producer of Orson Welles' films, so of course I got to know Orson well." She smiled at her own pun. "Then I married Joseph Losey, the American director Americans hardly know." He left here in 1951 and made movies in England. He's the darling of the French and English. . . . Through him I met Charles Laughton. Hans Eisler, Berthold Brecht. . . ."

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday August 9, 1990 Ventura County Edition Ventura County Life Part J Page 14 Column 2 Zones Desk 1 inches; 27 words Type of Material: Correction
Seniors feature--The Seniors feature in the June 21 edition of Ventura County Life gave the incorrect name for the son of Luisa Hyun. He is in fact Michael Losey, also son of director Joseph Losey.

Hyun interrupted to ask his wife if she'd like to taste the cracked crab. "Where," he said, "except in Oxnard on Fisherman's Wharf could we be sitting in the sun, eating seafood, watching the boats go by--and talking about Brecht?"

Brecht got Luisa started on a recitation on Peter's career. "After majoring in drama at DePaul University in Indiana, he became stage manager of Eva LeGallienne's New York Civic Repertory Theatre."

"Some of my best years," Peter Hyun said, "were when I directed children's plays and ran puppet shows for the Federal Theatre in New York. But there was just too much racial discrimination in the theater of the '40s. I couldn't work--and then came World War II. I was Army Intelligence. I could speak Korean, Japanese, Chinese and Tagalog."

Peter Hyun's father, a Methodist minister, the Rev. Soon Hyun, was a hero of the Korean independence movement "Man Sei." The phrase means 10,000 years, and has long been a rallying cry against invaders.

"What finally started me writing it," says Hyun, "was that in 1975 the Korean government asked that my father's ashes be transported to Seoul for a hero's burial."

The journey to Korea to see his father honored as a patriot was the first Hyun had taken to his native country since 1919.

Peter and Luisa Hyun have now been married 25 years. This is her fifth marriage and though Luisa is more than happy to discuss three of her husbands, she does not talk about the other two.

The Hyuns lived and taught in Mexico until 10 years ago when they moved to Oxnard to be near her son, Michael Farnum, and his family, and to be nearer to Peter Hyun's family in Los Angeles.

"When we moved back to the States," Luisa Hyun said, "we both taught English as a second language at Oxnard Union High School. Then we decided it was time to devote ourselves to our writing. This is a great place to do that. Between the sea and the farming, it's very peaceful."

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