Torre Younghans is my son;and also the son of Paula Samonte. We are a family of love. Our Daughter Samantha and her sister Candace, from a different Mother, Michele Ann, are a family of love. Whatever else happens, we are together eternally. As his Father, and as a human being on this planet earth, I feel greatly rewarded.
Torre, was a wonderful little fellow in his first years. We had to have Samantha, because we felt we would ruin Torre as an only son. Samantha was surely a blessing. She was the most beautiful baby, and is today, the most beautiful lady you could ever meet. She has done much to make this family what it is today.
I know from talking to the children, there is much love between them. Although space separates them, they are very close. That makes our hearts (Paula's and mine) feel warm and gives us a good regular beat. (Paula and I are also separated - divorced.) But as a family we are very close. With that said, I want to talk about Torre.
Torre has always impressed me. He has talent beyond talent. He doesn't realize it. My life has been working with talent. I saw it with his Mother, who is a brilliant singer. I have seen, and worked with, some of the top talent of this country. So I feel qualified to make that judgment about my son. He not only has talent, but he has heart.
When Torre was ten, I moved to Los Angeles to work the Valley Music Theatre as the Artist Relations person. Torre And Samantha came with me, and Paula went on a tour with her band. I saw an ad for a tryout for some young boys to form a group for recordings. I took Torre to a friend of mine, who rehearsed him in a couple of songs. He went on the audition and got a part in a group called “Sparky”. The management company was from England and they were planning to make these boys the next Donny & Marie group. There were four boys, who were groomed, photographed and publicized very professionally. I was impressed with the management group. The boys recorded two songs that came out on a 45rpm record. They were in the teen magazines and Torre received fan mail from all over the world. I was given bags full of mail.
They were on televisionl: The Dinah Shore Show and a Saturday Morning special with Lee Majors. They were breaking in with a bang. Then the bomb dropped. One of the boys had a sister who had a PR company; she thought, by getting them a different management group, she could benefit. The family had been trying to get him into the movie industry. She researched the legal aspects and came up with a “conflict of interest” because the management company owned the recording company. She put pressure to have a new management company. She had already made a contact with another top agency. We went in for an interview and met the proposed new agent. It was a young guy who knew nothing about the business. He must have been a relative of one of the owners of the company that they were breaking in. I saw that we would not benefit from this guy. I told the group this, but his sister was insistent.
During this time I had written and published a song about Texas with a musician friend. I took Torre with me to Texas to promote the song. I put together a little dance number for Torre to do, in case he got on one of the TV stations. We were both on TV in Houston, Austin and Dallas. I talked about my song and Torre danced his little dance to his recorded song, “I’ll Never Say Never Again.” I met the promo man from the recording company in Austin and he told me he wasn’t given the okay to promote Sparky’s record.
When we got back to Los Angeles, we were told that the management company dropped the Sparky Group. That ended it. The music director, who created the record, went to work for the Donny and Marie Show.
I then got Torre signed to the Nina Blanchard Agency, A top, modeling agency that had just taken on a new branch of the business that dealt with TV. Her agent got Torre lined up to be a regular on the Freddie Prinz Show as the boy next door. Then the Hispanic complaints about casting races came up and they couldn’t use Torre.
It was Torre’s last year at the Gardner Street Elementary School and he would then be going to Hollywood High School. I felt it was time to get him back with his Mother and out of the area. So, he moved back up to Sonoma, where, I was told much later, he was treated terrible in school because of his long hair and coming from Hollywood. I had made a big mistake, thinking it was good to get him away from the bad influences of Hollywood High. I regret it to this day.
It didn’t stop Torre. He was on the high school swimming team and had the lead, playing Jesus, in “God Spell.” After High school he studied at ACT in San Francisco and later went to UCB, where he studied drama. He has continued his stage acting to this day, but has never pursued a career in Hollywood. He has the talent, and could out act most of those family connected actors.