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New innkeepers have stories to tell

Fascinating folks often pop over the horizon unexpectedly. While pursuing a story about the charming McCully House Inn in Jacksonville, I had the pleasure of meeting new owners Kathryn Mosely and Philip Segal — television and movie producers with a long list of credits.

Today, they add innkeepers to their life experience. They split their lives between a home in Shady Cove and one in Los Angeles.Phil was born in Essex, England in Southend-on-Sea. Southend, a Victorian seaside town, was a depressed area during the 1960s and ‘70s when Phil grew up there. His family knew hard times, and he’s been hard at it since childhood.

“My father was a complicated man and really didn’t want children. He would rather spend his weekends partying with friends than playing ball with me. He did everything he could to sort of get rid of us. So, from an early age he found jobs for me. I’ve worked since I was 7 and a half, 8 years old. One of my first jobs was a milk boy. I got up at 4 in the morning on weekends and walked to the dairy to help Derek the milkman load the cart and deliver milk.”

When two policemen showed up at Phil’s door one afternoon, young Philip learned that Derek was a serial killer who had been murdering women for years.

Phil Segal comes by his theatrical nature honestly — nut not falling far from the tree and all.

“My father talked with a thick Cockney accent. He [Joseph Segal] was a song and dance man who should have been on the stage. His father literally almost killed him when he found out that at 17 he’d bought a pair of tap shoes. My grandfather said, ‘That’s not a profession. You should be ashamed of yourself,’ and removed the shoes.”

Phil’s mum, Eileen, possessed an easy-going disposition, if perhaps a bit on the lackadaisical side.

“If it was required that you have a license to have children, she would never have been given one,” Phil says of his mother, who at 89 is still doing great. Not that she was uncaring, it was more a matter of supervision that lacked purpose, to hear him tell it. His mother’s father was a watchmaker. He synchronized watches for Spitfires during the war and played a concert violin. Grandmother was a fabulous homemaker. They were not thrilled with Eileen’s choice for a husband, but at the ripe old age of 20-something, her choices had dwindled.

Philip’s family immigrated to Las Vegas in the ‘60s. Phil’s dad had become an accomplished hair stylist by then, working in a high-end salon. That came to an abrupt halt when Joe Venti, his employer, ended up in a dumpster with a bullet hole in his chest. Joseph hadn’t realized that Mr. Venti was a mobster. He packed up his family and returned to England.

“We came to the States [again] when I was 10 — San Diego. I graduated from San Diego State University in 1984.”

You might say Segal landed in just the right spot — parking spot to be precise — the day he climbed the chain link fence at 20th Century Fox in search of employment. It was casting director Mike Fenton’s parking space. Fenton cast movies such as “The Godfather,” “ET” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” So when he arrived in his red Porsche, he saw Phil and asked if he could help him.

“I’m looking for a job,” Segal replied. Fenton referred him to his assistant to work as an intern. Phil slept in his car and opened their studio offices each morning, where he showered. Everyone showed up at 10. “It was great!”

The assistant became pregnant and never returned, so Phil got the job. The rest of his achievements were the result of hard work and a long-held desire to become an executive producer.

From 1990-96, Segal ran Steven Spielberg’s television company, Amblin Entertainment, overseeing the production of “seaQuest DSV,” “ER,” “Earth 2,” and “The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.” He brought back “Dr. Who,” the movie, in 1996.

Three years in a row, he as creator and executive producer along with his team, were nominated for prime time Emmys for their work on “Deadliest Catch.” Segal won the award for Best Director of a Short Film from the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival for his work on “The Other Side of Monday.” Other shows he worked on include “Twin Peaks,” “Thirtysomething” and “China Beach.” I could go on, but space is limited.

He’s currently in pre-production on a show for the Discovery Channel called “Swamp Doctor.” It’s about a Louisiana doctor who makes house calls in the bayous.

With Kathryn’s zeal for projects and life in general, the two have revitalized the charming 1860s McCully House Inn. Their dedicated care for the oldest home in Oregon still operating as an inn would make Jane McCully proud.

“We were looking for a project to do together here. We’ve tried to be involved philanthropically with the community. We give to Shady Cove to keep the radio station going. They were going to shut it down, so we gave them full funding for a year, and bizarrely, the [Obenchain] fire came two weeks after the funding. So, without the radio station they wouldn’t have been able to get the word out.”

Speaking of their new adventure, Phil added, “We’re very excited about being caretakers. Hopefully, we’ll leave her in a better place. Exciting things coming down the pike. We’re learning how to be innkeepers. We would like to have an English pub with overstuffed chairs and a fireplace — a great place for people to come and have conversation and just enjoy. Jane McCully baked pies. Rest assured we will be baking pies.”

Peggy Dover is a freelance writer/author. Reach her at pcdover@hotmail.com.