MERIDIAN — A good foundation
A 1956 graduate of Ole Miss, Pigford began his stage and screen career after college, appearing in 30 television shows and several movies.
After returning to Meridian he organized the Theatre Guild in 1968, the MLT Youth Division in 1969 and introduced a Summer Youth Workshop in 1996.
Ginger Stevens, executive director of the Wesley House Community Center, remembers Pigford as a local pioneer in the field of arts, as well as someone she had the privilege to work with in several productions while taking on the roles of Laurey Williams in "Oklahoma," Daisy Mae in "Lil' Abner," and Anna Leonowens in "The King And I."
"Jimmy Pigford was instrumental in the development of the local theater chapter and was a staunch supporter of allowing others to take the lead in his production crews," Stevens said. "I, along with countless others, directed the Meridian Little Theatre Youth Division plays. In this field, he was constantly thinking of how to get the young people of Meridian involved in the local arts. With his supervision, he helped to bring the local theater experience to our elementary schools every year. The Youth Division still buses in all of the local and county schools for their annual productions."
Pigford was voted The Meridian Star Readers' Choice Man of the Year in 2012. At that time he said one of his proudest achievements with MLT is the number of young people who have participated in Youth Division productions.
He saw Youth Division students go on to become models, actresses and a Miss America.
"Some of them go on to colleges and universities and get big parts in plays," Pigford said. "It's a good foundation for them here. And they always drop back by to visit."