Remembering Dr. Lu Elrod: Actress, musician, and teacher
The world lost another pillar in the lesbian community with the passing of Dr. Lu Elrod, age 84, last April 12 at her home in Monrovia, California.
Lu– or Elizabeth Louella Elrod– was a versatile character actress who appeared in more than a dozen feature films over the past three decades, including 1998 movies like The Big Lebowski and Primary Colors.
She was also a Professor Emeritus of Music at California State University, Los Angeles and continued to teach and play an active role in fund-raising for music scholarships at Cal State LA.
The talented Lu Elrod
Born on 23 April 1935 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Lu grew up in Marietta, Georgia. She excelled in athletics, especially swimming, in Marietta High School and graduated in 1953.
She was awarded multiple vocal scholarships and went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Music from Georgia State University in 1960.
She was also presented Leadership Development and Leadership Fellows awards from The Ford Foundation during this time.
She earned a Master of Music Education degree in 1970 and a Doctorate in Education the next year from the University of Georgia.
This led to her to a 50-year teaching career teaching music teachers on how to teach music.
Music and teaching
At first, Lu led chorus and band at Southwest DeKalb High School in Decatur, Georgia. She accepted a faculty position in the Music Department at the University of Maryland, Baltimore in 1972.
Concurrently, she served as Music Director in several churches in the area. Later on, she would become Music Director in various churches Georgia, North Carolina, and California.
In 1978, she moved to California to teach Music and Music Education at California State University, Los Angeles.
During the course of her career, she won every teaching award imaginable, including national awards for expertise in music and education.
Later on, she was named Professor Emerita of Music Education at Cal State LA in 2003.
Appearing in TV and movies
Aside from teaching, Lu appeared on TV and movies. Aside from The Big Lebowski and Primary Colors, her film appearances range from The Seduction of Joe Tynan (1979) and Kicking & Screaming (2005)
On TV, she appeared in a variety of programs like General Hospital (1972), Hill Street Blues (1981), Superior Court (1986), and Dream On (1990).
What’s more, she performed with the Dallas Opera and was a Metropolitan Opera Regional Auditions finalist, being a critically acclaimed opera singer and expert in music education.
She was also a member the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), American Federation of Radio and Television Artists (AFTRA), and the American Guild of Variety Artists (AGVA), among others.
Likewise, she was listed in national directories, including Who’s Who in America, International Who’s Who in Music, and is a multiple year honoree in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.
Two videos of remembrance can be viewed below: