Former La Cañada/Sierra Madre resident Sandra Hakman, 84, died peacefully on December 8, 2022, at her daughter’s home surrounded by loved ones.
Sandra was born in Enid, OK on July 28, 1938, to Robert and Martha Knott. She was a shy, sweet girl with bright blue eyes and a great sense of humor. Born into a family of “show people,” her parents performed with “The Standley Players,” a tent show run by Sandra’s grandparents which traveled town-to-town throughout the Southwest.
We found this excerpt, written by Sandra:
“I have many fond memories of my childhood spent on the tent show, especially the summer of 1950. My parents sold their house, bought a trailer and went ‘on the road.’ My sister Karen, an accomplished singer, sang ‘Shoo-Fly-Pie,’ my mother was a terrific actress, singer and comedienne. My father played the trumpet and led the band with great talent. I was supposed to be in charge of the popcorn concession. Unfortunately, I could never get the nerve to go up and down the aisles yelling ‘HOT BUTTER POPCORN,’ the words got stuck in my throat. I also seem to remember approaching my bit part as a messenger in a casual way … sometimes I would appear, and sometimes not. But when my family took the stage, my heart filled with pride. I knew then, I loved it all. It was the greatest fun possible. There was no place on Earth I would rather be!”
As the family grew, adding brothers James and Robert, they settled into city life in Oklahoma City where Sandra’s father led a jazz band and her mother acted on stage, radio and television. Sandra loved school and excelled at it, particularly in English, Art and Drama. She attended Northwest Classen High School where she made life-long friends. In her spare time, Sandra worked at an ice cream parlor (giving her a lifelong love of ice cream) and sang vocals with her father’s band at the Petroleum Club.
After graduation, Sandra moved to Chicago to study acting at Goodman Theater. There she met her husband Bob, a fellow actor. The couple married and moved to Southern California, where they had two daughters.
Sandra’s life in California centered around family, friends and theater. A wonderful mother, Sandra ensured that her daughters’ home life was filled with music, laughter, kindness and love. She and the girls spent many happy hours swimming at the beach, playing in the park or listening to music. Always going above and beyond, she made her daughters elaborate Halloween costumes including a memorable Statue of Liberty.
Sandra also was a role model to her daughters as a working mom. In her twenties, she worked as a secretary at Capitol and Liberty Records in Hollywood. Later, she sought work closer to home, working as the Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent of the La Cañada Unified School District for over 25 years.
Throughout the years, Sandra remained active in theater. She had tremendous range -performing lead and character roles – and enormous depth – everything from Shakespeare to Cole Porter to Tennessee Williams. Over her 60-plus year career, she acted in productions with Eagle Rock’s Hilltop Players, Glendale Center Theater, La Cañada Players, Sierra Madre Playhouse and Hollywood’s Raven Playhouse. One critic described her performance as “completely natural” and another exclaimed she was the immediate “audience favorite.”
Sandra’s love for travel took her, among other places, twice to England, annually to New York City to see 8 Broadway shows in 6 days and to Washington D.C. where she attended a Supreme Court session. She was also an accomplished painter whose work was inspired by the ocean, the outdoors and family.
Sandra loved being with people and entertaining at home, she had many dear friends, was a wonderful listener with a positive outlook on life and saw the best in people. Sandra’s honesty, kindness, creativity and humor made her a pleasure to know and love. She will forever be missed.
Sandra is survived by her sister Karen (spouse Charlie) and brother Robert (spouse Julie), daughters Valerie (spouse Jonathan) and Julie (spouse Billie), and grandchildren, Bryan and Brooke.
Arrangements are being made for a Celebration of Life in early 2023.