Cast: Tom Foreman

Tom Foreman, co-star, “Tom”

Tom Foreman (1919 – 1978) was John Warner’s assistant manager at the Plaza Theater, who “helped run everything.” He was also vice-president of Lord-Warner Pictures. 

Foreman was a lifelong Greenville resident, employed for many years at the NCNB of Greenville, and a community leader and organizer. He also was considered John Warner’s right hand man in the late 1940s at the Plaza and was a primary organizer of local talent to appear in “Pitch a Boogie Woogie.”

Tom Foreman Park on West Fifth Street in Greenville is named for him; it’s across the street from where he and his wife, Lena Smith Foreman (1915 – 2014), lived for many years. She was a career teacher and a lovely lady who kept an impeccable home. After our 1988 re-premiere, she hosted cast, friends and family–with commemorative napkins printed for the occasion. 

I asked her once if she went to the original premiere. She smiled and looked away. “No,” she said, “and I won’t tell you what I said, either. but we had just gotten married, and I was away all day teaching, and then he was out all night with that movie. But he had to do it.”

Courtesy of Mrs. Tom Foreman

She was sorry that “Pitch” didn’t include Tom’s singing. “He could sing nice,” she said. He used to have a ‘Sing along with Tom’ he produced to raise money. And he liked organizing things.” He helped organize, for example, the Batchelor-Benedict Club in Greenville in 1941. He was the first Black on the Greenville Recreation and Parks Committee, which he was chairing when he retired in 1978 for health concerns. 

He and Lena were members of Sycamore Hill Missionary Baptist Church. Their son, Tom Foreman, Jr., retired after 43 years as an Associated Press news and sports writer and is now writing for HBCU Gameday. He was inducted into the NC Media and Journalism Hall of Fame in 2024. 

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Foreman, Lena S. Personal interview. 10 June 1986.

Tom Foreman, left, & Herman Forbes. Courtesy of Herman Forbes.

–20 April 2024