Lenny Jennings

Biographical Information
  • Place and year of birth: Shorewood, Wisconsin, 1936
  • Birthplace of parents: Father: Chicago, Illinois; Mother: Peshtigo, Wisconsin
  • Parents’ occupations: Mother was a waitress, father was ran an automobile business. Both later owned a tavern together.
  • Dates of residence in Chrysler Village: October 1946 to August 1957; again from 1962 to 1868, same location both times: 5165 West 64th Place. In between he was in the Marine Corps and show business. Has previously also lived in Edgewater Beach Apartments in Chicago, Hindsdale, IL, Las Vegas, NV, Palm Springs, CA, Ranchos Palos Verdes, CA, Palos Verdes Estates, CA, Los Angeles, CA. Has lived in California since 1978.
  • Cultural background: White Caucasian, Protestant
  • Educational background:
    • 1951-1956: Lindblom High School, Chicago
    • 1956-1957: Edna McRae School of Dance in the Fine Arts Building in Chicago. Performed with dance companies, road shows, and night clubs.
  • Work experiences:
    • Marine Corps
    • 1959-1960: Bartender
    • 1961-192: Nightclub
    • Performer, Arie Crown Theater and International Trade Fair at Navy Pier
    • 1965-1968: Wilding Commercial Film House–1345 Argyle Street, “where Hollywood started”
    • 1968-1978: NBC news film editor, Chicago; won a local Emmy and had other local Emmy nominations.
    • 1978: Moved to California and worked in film and television industry for 17 years. Lorimar Productions (DallasThe WaltonsKnox Landing), Quinn Martin Productions, Twentieth Century Fox.
  • Involvement in community organizations:
    • Boy Scouts, 35 years, starting in Hinsdale, IL, before moving to California. Received a number of awards for being in the organization that long. Mentioned meeting a Yiddish actor who gave him advice about always having three things going for you so he started to volunteer there.
    • Young Marine Program, 6 years, California.
    • The South Bay Youth Mentors, about 9 years, California; a youth program for children between ages 10 and 17. Most of the volunteers are Marines, who teach leadership and other life skills.
    • West Suburban Council, Round Table Commissioner, and Assistant Scout Master, Hinsdale, IL.
    • 1946-1947: member of a Cub Scout Troop founded in 1946 by Mr. Jakerson, who lived on 64th Street. There was also a Boy Scout Troop.
  • Additional Comments: 
    • As a child, he and the neighborhood children spent a lot of time in the park there (Lawler Park). They went sledding down the hill, ice skated, played football, baseball, dug fox holes, made fires, and camped out in tents. He said it wasn’t much of a park, more of a big field that was filled in to flatten it out.
    • When he and his family moved to Chrysler Village, dogs and cats ran wild and few people had fences, so people could walk through everyone else’s yard to get where they needed to be. There was a lot of air traffic and many empty fields. As a kid, it was a “smorgasbord” because there was an industrial district on one side and a railroad on the other so they always had places to play. The airport was on the north side. Many people moving in were veterans and there were a lot of children around. It was a big deal to them because most of these people had been apartment dwellers and now they could have their own homes. He recalled instances where someone would show films in his/her backyard on 64th Street and 100+ children would come to watch films like soldiers did in the military. There was popcorn for the kids, as well as food and ice cream trucks. For the children, this was all brand new but was familiar for the veterans. The people moving into the neighborhood came from everywhere, all over the city: Canaryville, Taylor Street-literally from everywhere. One man came from Brooklyn, NY, and later had a baseball field named after him in Buffalo Grove. He was the president of their Jaycee club and died in 1967.

Click here to listen to the interview.