Vesta “Vicki” Gleissner

Vesta “Vicki” Gleissner was exposed to the entertainment field from the get-go. The niece of acclaimed cowboy Gene Autry found her parents home filled with actors, musicians and Hollywood Studio employees. She became a member of Professional Screen Children’s Guild at age 5 and appeared on stage at the Pasadena Playhouse and in several TV shows. In 1948 her parents moved to San Diego and she was soon enrolled with the San Diego Jr. Theater for training. Her first appearance was in the “Rose and the Ring” and her favorite roles were Snow White in “Snow White and Seven Dwarfs” and the Griffin in “Alice in Wonderland”. She appeared at the Old Globe as Queen Elizabeth on the Green, Mopsa in “A Winters Tale”, and Hippolita in “A Mid-Summer’s Night Dream”. She also appeared in the Old Globe’s two seasons at Sherwood Hall in La Jolla as the Stepdaughter in “Six Characters in Search of an Author” and Patricia in “A Memory of Two Mondays”. When the then Falstaff Tavern became a theater in the round Vesta participated in the opening season as Abigail in “The Crucible”. Vesta’s last appearance on the main stage was in 1967 as Essie in You Can’t Take it with You. After her marriage to her Air Force husband Vesta took a hiatus to raise her two sons, Christopher and Richard. The stage called again when they were stationed in Denver, CO and Vesta performed at Bonfils Theater as Mrs. Grose in “The Innocents”, Sally Cato in “Aunty Mame” and at the Third Eye Theater as Mary Stuart in “Mary Stuart”. She also appeared in several segments on PBS. The late 70’s found the family transferred back to California and Vesta won the role of the Senora in the Ramona Pageant and both acted and directed at the Palace West Theater and the Ramona Playhouse where she received an Inland Theater award for her performance as Mother Superior in “Agnes of God”. Currently Vesta acts and directs at the Patio Playhouse in Escondido and last season won an ACT award for her performance of the Nurse in “It Runs in the Family”. Thoughts on JT: “I can not think of Balboa Park without being flooded with wonderful memories of the talented and creative people that surrounded me at San Diego Junior Theater. Always, in my minds eye, is a picture of my beautiful mother, Wilma, close by sewing costumes, building props, and calming nerves. It was an honor and privilege to be a part of JT”.