Nominated by Carousel Ranch, Child & Family Center, and WiSH Foundation
Edward Joseph Masterson Jr., the only child of Edward and Noreen Masterson, was born September 3, 1958, very early in the morning at St. Vincent's Hospital in Los Angeles, right in the shadow of the Hollywood sign — a precursor of things to come. An only child, "Little Eddie," as he would come to be known, was the apple of his mom and dad's eye.
Ed's father, Eddie Sr., was an Irish immigrant who came to the United States at age 26 in search of a better life. Among his many talents, Eddie Sr. was an accomplished Irish step dancer, and taught dance to many aspiring students including his future wife, Noreen Higgins, and the children of several movie stars. Eddie Sr. and his dance group appeared on TV variety shows and also performed at a number of Southland venues including Disneyland.
Ed's mother, Noreen, was born in Los Angeles of Irish immigrants and was a dedicated student as well as a bit of a tomboy and a roller skating daredevil. Growing up in Eagle Rock, Noreen attended Catholic grade school and high school and ultimately graduated from Mount St. Mary's University. Pursuing a career as a teacher, she successfully taught high school math for over 35 years at Bell High School in the City of Bell.
Eddie Sr. and Noreen first met when she signed up for lessons in his Irish dance class. They were married in 1957 and moved from Los Angeles in 1959, to make Whittier, California, their new home.
Growing up, Ed Jr. not only had the benefit of two loving parents but the added bonus of living next door to his grandmother, Nora Higgins, who was a huge influence on his life. Ed and his family were very active in their parish community with Ed attending grade school at St. Gregory the Great, where he served as an altar boy and also excelled as a member of the boys choir.
Growing up in an Irish household, there were, of course, trips back to the Old Country. Ed made journeys to Ireland with his family in 1963 and again in 1976.
Ed attended St. Paul High School in Santa Fe Springs and was always a hard working student — except in math. Ed found time to play football, run track, tinker with his Camaro and have an active social life. Apparent that a college football career would not be in his future, Ed fine-tuned his love of USC football. And if you know anything about Ed, you know this: He's a diehard Trojan fan, through and through. Fight On!
Ed attended Cal State Fullerton as a communications/film major. He has a lifelong love of motion pictures, and if you were to ask him why, he would quote the movie, Grand Canyon: "All of life's riddles are answered in the movies." It's hard to have a conversation with Ed without a movie reference — or ten — being worked into the conversation. He might show up late for some things — but never for a movie.
At Cal State Fullerton, Ed joined Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity where he held many offices, including chapter president, vice president and Hell Master — don't ask. It was during this time that he met his future wife, Valerie Gage, who was a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority. Ed and Valerie dated all through college and beyond, and they were finally married May 24, 1985, after seven years of dating. Gotta be a record. Valerie had to ask Ed out, so she takes full credit for this success story. And Valerie contends that it was her mom, Ruth's, salsa recipe and her love of USC football that eventually sealed the deal with Ed. Valerie's dad, Hal, was a USC grad, so it seemed pretty likely that they would end up together.
After college, Ed moved to Burbank and took a job at Universal Studios as a tour guide — a job he describes as the best job he's ever had, and his favorite job of all time. Starting out as a tram guide and special effects stage host, Ed was promoted to VIP guide, giving tours to movie stars, musicians, sports legends and visiting heads of state.
After three years in tours, he was hired into the TV production department where he worked as a production assistant on shows like "Amazing Stories," "Airwolf," "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," "Murder She Wrote" and "The George Burns Comedy Hour." He was then promoted to production coordinator on shows which included "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," "Simon & Simon," "The New Leave It to Beaver," "Home Free with Matthew Perry" and "Quantum Leap."
For their first few years of marriage, Ed and Valerie lived in Burbank, but in 1988 they moved to Santa Clarita to buy a home and establish roots. For the first 10 years Ed still worked at Universal but also continued pursuing a writing career with his partner, Bill Gucwa, also a former tour guide. Bill & Ed's excellent adventure came to a close after minor success with the epic "hits" — "Storm Catcher," starring Dolph Lundgren, and "No Code of Conduct," starring Martin Sheen, Charlie Sheen and directed by Bret Michaels. Both films are available for laughs on IMDB.
Taking a job locally, Ed became immediately involved in the community and began volunteering for many nonprofit organizations. With a growing appreciation for the community, Ed's desire to help out was very strong and became increasingly more rewarding as he began to meet and form relationships with so many of the amazing people in Santa Clarita. Many of those people are here tonight, and many of those people have become very dear family friends, who are cherished, admired, loved and respected more than they know.
In 1996, Ed and Valerie welcomed their first child, Gage Edward Masterson. Gage was a wonderful addition to the family — sweet, active and a very good student. In addition to all the normal interests of a young boy, Gage also developed an especially strong passion for football and movies. He is definitely his father's son.
A brainwashed USC football fan from birth, Gage played city league flag football, then Wildcat football, then freshman and JV football at Hart High School. Gage was literally knocked out of the game when he suffered a broken collar bone — then another broken collarbone — and then a separated shoulder all in the same season. Not to be deterred, Gage continues his lifelong passion for USC Football, now as a student at USC and as a sports videographer and editor for the athletic department, capturing the Trojans in action with no broken bones in sight.
The year 2000 brought a new addition to the family as Ed and Valerie welcomed their second child, Elizabeth Noreen Masterson, known more affectionately as Lizzy. An absolute joy throughout her entire childhood, Lizzy was always interested in coloring, art, cooking and cheerleading. Like Gage before her, Lizzy was also an exceptional student, graduating with a 4.0 from Placerita Junior High School and with academic honors from Hart High School.
During her time at Hart, Lizzy was a member of the freshman, JV and varsity cheer squads. Lizzy currently attends College of the Canyons, works at Salt Creek Grille and hopes to transfer to USC next year. Since she was brought up right, Lizzy is, also, of course, a diehard Trojan fan — and the favorite of the family dogs, Buck and Bailey.
Ed has worked in Santa Clarita since 1999. His first job in town was with Golden West K-9 Security, where he landed a position as a sales guy — even though he had no sales experience. After Golden West, Ed worked with his good friend, Peter Goossens, on the Loose Goose Wine Festivals, then accepted a job as field representative for Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, a job that ranks second on Ed's list of all-time favorite jobs.
Ed currently works for SOS Entertainment and cherishes the opportunity and privilege of working side by side and shoulder to shoulder with organizations and community leaders to ensure that all of their special events go off without a hitch. Ed gives Derek Sage, the owner of SOS Entertainment, all the credit he deserves for allowing and encouraging Ed to be involved in the community as much he possibly can, and to help out our beloved organizations as much as he possibly can.
Ed has served at various times as a longtime board member for the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Valley Industry Association, the WiSH Education Foundation, and has also served on advisory boards for the Child & Family Center, the Michael Hoefflin Foundation and the former Repertory East Playhouse.
The countless number of hours he has spent serving as a volunteer emcee for numerous organizations and their events is only one of the reasons Ed is invaluable to Santa Clarita Valley and admired by all. As one of the town's key ambassadors, Ed is always polished, poised and professional. His energy and enthusiasm are key factors in his many professional accomplishments and continue to make him a true community leader.
We celebrate Ed's 20 years of extraordinary service to our community and applaud his motivation of serving others without expectation of recognition. Ed always steps up when called upon — and he always steps up with a happy heart. For that reason and many others, we are proud to honor Ed as a man of great character, trust and integrity, and are very pleased to name him our Man of the Year for 2019.