WHEN HOLLYWOOD DREAMS DON'T
by Thomas M. Sipos, managing editor.
[February 18, 2008]
[HollywoodInvestigator.com] Hollywood dreams don't always come true, even for those who do everything
right. Elizabeth Fusco was a talented screenwriter who followed all
the rules, yet she died last Saturday morning, before finding the success
she'd so long worked and waited for.
Elizabeth was born in Canada
to Italian immigrants. She had no "contacts" in the entertainment
industry; she moved to Los Angeles to find some. Once in L.A., she
enrolled in writing courses, and studied and practiced her craft. I met her in a UCLA
Extension sitcom writing course, in the summer of 1994.
Elizabeth would spend much
of the following decade in Los Angeles, the rest of her time in Canada,
always shuttling between her dream town and home town. In L.A. she
held the usual day jobs: housesitter, office temp, Blockbuster clerk, film
At one point she produced
and directed her own comedic short video; a slice of life that followed
two young women discussing the problems of dating and relationships. But Elizabeth never got around to polishing her video to her satisfaction
(no money), and so she never entered it into any festivals.
In recent years, Elizabeth
spent less time in Los Angeles, more in Canada, wanting to be closer to
her family. L.A. was wearing her down.
The peak of Elizabeth's career
came in 2005, when her spec comedic screenplay, Bubba
& Me (written under her pen name, Elizabeth Hart), became a
Finalist in the Scriptapalooza screenplay contest. This win finally gave her the validation that
all writers crave; a qualified, independent third party had affirmed her
Alas, nothing much changed
in her career. A few agents and production companies asked to read Bubba
& Me, and that was all. "Thank you, but not for us." A common ending to a contest win (in an industry full of screenplay contests),
About that pen name, Elizabeth
Hart. Why did she use it? Because Elizabeth Fusco feared fame. She wanted to be a working writer, not famous. I told her she needn't
worry, that even successful screenwriters are hardly household names. I
then added that hers was an odd attitude in L.A., where almost everyone
comes for the fame and riches, in that order.
Not her. Elizabeth
was baffled that anyone would want to be famous.
Elizabeth's cheerful optimism
never flagged, despite the constant rejections that go with being a writer. Like Jude
the Obscure, she always "knew" that she'd "make it" in the end. Every new year, she'd pronounce that this would be her breakthrough year. I'd remind her that she'd often said that before. She'd only laugh
and say, "You have to have faith."
I last saw Elizabeth in the
flesh on December 6, 2005. I took her photo outside Izzy's in Santa
Monica. She'd only flown into L.A. for a few days.
A little over two years later,
Elizabeth Fusco (aka Elizabeth Hart) died of leukemia on Saturday, February
16, 2008, in her Canadian home town of Guelph, Ontario. She was still in her 30s.
Copyright 2008 by HollywoodInvestigator.com.
is survived by a mother and three adult siblings. If a producer or
agent wishes to read Elizabeth's work, the Hollywood Investigator would
be happy to put them in touch with her family.