COVER STORY SIDEBAR- Footnote to history: Kassell portrayed by John-Boy Thomas


COVER STORY SIDEBAR- Footnote to history: Kassell portrayed by John-Boy Thomas

Issue #21 of the Hook; published 06/27/02

 BY HAWES SPENCER

EDITOR@READTHEHOOK.COM

Although he'll never live down his memorable role as John-Boy, actor Richard Thomas has another Central Virginia claim to fame. Last year, he played the role of UVA brain surgeon Neal Kassell in the Pax Network movie, The Miracle of the Cards.

The film limned the true-life tale of Craig Shergold, a British boy suffering from a gigantic brain tumor. Thanks to Kassell's 1991 surgery– and 350 million postcards sent by well-wishers– the boy survived.

"The story was remarkably accurate," says Kassell, although he confesses he knew nothing of its creation until a day before it aired. "It was," he says, "a complete surprise."

And how did Thomas do?

"It was perfect type-casting," exclaims Kassell. "He appears to be a nice, genuine, and sincere person."

Sorta like John-Boy.

Richard Thomas = Neal Kassell.

–CBS PHOTO ARCHIVE

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