Memorial is set for Dallas actress Goode

Stage, radio star was revered for
work throughout 3 decades

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03:13 AM CST on Thursday, January 22, 2004

By TOM SIME / The Dallas Morning News

Ludi Mai Sensabaugh Goode, a star of Dallas' stage scene from the 1930s to the '50s, will be honored at a memorial service Saturday at 10 a.m. on the Southern Methodist University campus. The service is open to the public.

Ms. Goode died Dec. 8 at her home in Dallas. She was 90.

Before graduating from SMU in 1935 with a degree in English and drama, Ms. Goode played many stage roles on campus and began to make professional appearances as a singer, including a regular gig at the Palace Theatre, where she was billed as "The Singing Coed."

She became a radio star as "Sugah" of the singing comedy group "Sugah and Her Boy Friends" on the WFAA radio program Pepper Uppers . The 1935-38 show was broadcast across the southern states on the NBC-affiliated Dixie Radio Network and landed in the top 10 in listener polls. Variety called the program "novel and distinctive."

Ms. Goode also sang with Eddie Duchin and his orchestra during a broadcast from Dallas in 1934; she was one of the winners for the southwest region in Mr. Duchin's "Radio Open" contest that year and was also a finalist in CBS' nationwide Hollywood Hotel singing competition in New York.

Ms. Goode continued to appear onstage, primarily at the Dallas Little Theater, a well- regarded amateur company on Maple Avenue that paved the way for Margo Jones' influential Theatre '47, where Ms. Goode was later a board member and secretary.

At the Little Theater, Ms. Goode played leading roles in Candida, An Enemy of the People, Arms and the Man and many other plays.

Critics praised her work. In 1936, John Rosenfield Jr. of The Dallas Morning News called her "the finest actress we have ever seen on SMU stages." During her Little Theater years, he dubbed her "one of the Maple Avenue Immortals."

In a review of her performance in the title role of Candida in 1943, Dallas Times Herald critic Graydon Heartsill described her "lovely voice and poised charm."

Ms. Goode was born Ludi Mai Sensabaugh in San Diego on July 15, 1913, and grew up in Tulsa, Okla. She moved to Dallas in 1931 when her father, Dr. Leon Sensabaugh, was appointed minister of education at Highland Park United Methodist Church.

She married surgeon John V. Goode in Dallas in 1937; he died in 1989. The couple had two sons, John Goode of Lake Jackson, Texas, and Richard Goode of Charlotte, N.C.

Saturday's memorial will be in the Cox Chapel of Highland Park United Methodist Church, 3300 Mockingbird Lane.