James Foote is a dead ringer for Theodore Roosevelt, says Bill Bleyer in Newsday. A former machine-shop worker, Foote didn’t give TR much thought until he grew a mustache in the Navy. “When I got out in ’72, I kept the mustache and started wearing eyeglasses in 1975, and that’s when people began to say, ‘You look like Theodore Roosevelt.’” When he dressed up as the Rough Rider for a costume party, he recalls, a guest asked him to march in an upcoming Memorial Day parade. “It kind of skyrocketed from there.” So for 30 years, Foote, now 59, has been playing the Rough Rider in documentaries, historical re-enactments, and personal appearances. He’s studied TR through old films and recordings, books, and oral histories of people who actually knew him. “When you start reading about Theodore Roosevelt,” he says, “you can’t help but become hooked. What I admire about him is that he spoke his mind.” Foote now travels up to 20,000 miles annually for his Roosevelt impersonations. “I’ve performed everywhere from the White House to Comedy Central. To tell you the truth they’re not that much different.”
The man who would be TR
November 7, 2008
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