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WHEN HOLLYWOOD DREAMS DON'T COME TRUE

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 extra. 

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 talent.

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), but disappointing nonetheless.

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.

 

Elizabeth 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.

 

 

 

 

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