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Nationally known actor, comedian set to perform on Thursday night

Monday, October 6, 2008

Torry will perform at scholarship fundraiser for Lincoln University

SIKESTON -- Nationally known actor and comedian Joe Torry will spread some laughter as he helps raise funds for his alma mater next week at a Scott County sports bar.

Torry, a St. Louis native, will perform during a Lincoln University scholarship fundraiser scheduled to begin at 8 p.m Oct. 9 at Mr. C's, located off Highway 61 near Morley.

Brenda Echols, regional coordinator for the Lincoln University Cooperative Extension in Sikeston, said alumni and others who've already purchased tickets are very excited about Torry's visit to the area.

"They can't believe he's coming," said Echols, who is a fan. "I've watched several of the movies he's been in, and I've attended a couple of his comedy shows. He's hilarious."

Torry has appeared in several films like "House Party" and "Poetic Justice," and numerous television shows like "Roc," "ER," "NYPD Blue" and "Def Comedy Jam."

In 2007, Torry was inducted into the Comedy Hall of Fame. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in mass communication/journalism broadcasting from Lincoln University.

Leother Branch Jr. of Sikeston, a member of the Lincoln University Alumni Association, said the group made a call to Torry and he agreed to perform for the fundraiser.

"A lot of people don't know he's one of the youngest ever to be inducted into the (Lincoln University) Hall of Fame. He's done quite a few movies and TV shows and has been involved in lots of fundraising efforts," Branch said.

Besides performing, Torry founded the Giving Back the Love Foundation in 1996. With this foundation, he gives back to his hometown community through youth and community programs.

In 2003, Torry started his production company, MO Films. With this company, Torry's plans are to bring filmmaking to the Midwest and help other actors, musicians and artists showcase their talent, according to his Web site.

Branch said the university's alumni association usually conducts different fundraisers to help students with their finances to attend college, but it's uncommon for a fundraiser to include a performance by a well-known comedian like Torry.

Although the event will be a fun time, Branch said it's also about helping local students realize their goals of obtaining a college education.

"Our main goal is to try to promote higher education among our youth and try to get kids into college," said Branch.

Proceeds will benefit Lincoln University's scholarship fund, which usually sponsors at least one scholarship to a Southeast Missouri graduating senior, who will attend Lincoln in the fall, Echols said.

"We do other things for the students from the Bootheel who attend Lincoln, like send them care packages," Echols said.

Tickets are still available for next week's one-night show at various locations throughout the area including the Lincoln University offices in Sikeston and Caruthersville and Family Resource Center in New Madrid.

Echols said another comedian -- who hasn't yet been named -- is set to accompany Torry.

"Just come, have a good time, laugh and support a good cause," Echols said.

Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. They can be purchased by visiting one of the locations previously mentioned or calling the Lincoln University Cooperative Extension at (573) 471-3059. For more information about Torry, visit www.mrjoetorry.com.