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Lou was an American actor and music director, best known for his work
on Broadway productions and television shows and films.
Born Louis Francis Frizzell, Jr. on June 10, 1920 in Missouri,
Lou played the saxophone and composed music.
At the age of 23, Lou went to the World War II American concentration camp at Manzanar.
He volunteered because he wanted to make a difference, teaching drama and
music to the young people imprisoned there.
The Japanese Community was so appreciative of his kindness and compassion that when the television movie "Farewell to Manzanar" was in development, Lou was asked to play himself.
In 2005, a short documentary film was made by Brian Tadashi Maeda about Lou Frizzell. The film includes interviews with his former students, who were inspired by Frizell's ability to help the students temporarily forget their circumstances and lose themselves to the beauty and power of music and the joy of being young. The film also includes re-enactments of Manzanar High students performing parts of Frizzell's operetta Loud and Clear. The second half of the film turns its attention to Arnold Maeda, the filmmaker's older brother and a student of Frizzell's who performed in Loud and Clear; we attend a 2002 ceremony at Santa Monica High School in which Maeda and other Japanese American students receive the diplomas they were denied by the mass incarceration and visit the grand opening of the Manzanar Visitors Center in 2004. Music Man was funded by a grant from the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program.
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