By People Staff
November 24, 1975 12:00 PM

Tommy McLoughlin, 25, is a man of few words. The founding father of the Los Angeles Mime Company, whose material includes a suicidal teenager who, when all else fails, tries to drown herself in a toilet, McLoughlin lives and breathes whimsy. “Comedy is everything. The only boring things in my life are eating and sleeping.” Growing up in Culver City, Calif., he began his showbiz career at 4 by popping out of boxes in his magician father’s vaudeville act. Several years ago a chance meeting with Marcel Marceau led to his studying under the mime master in Paris. “He was,” says McLoughlin, “the epitome of an artist, totally egotistical and yet childlike, warm and beautiful.” McLoughlin returned to the U.S. in 1971, and in 1973 formed a workshop which spawned the Mime Company. They have appeared as robots in Woody Allen’s Sleeper and on a recent Dick Van Dyke TV special. Married to a fellow mime and member of the company, Katee McClure—he proposed in pantomime and they were married in a slapstick mime ceremony—McLoughlin insists, “The worst thing about mime is the white-face trap.” He has abandoned that tradition for simple makeup (which he carries in a pickle-shaped case, above). “There is more to mime than picking flowers and tapping a glass box. Mime has incredible possibilities for the new generation if it becomes part of their world.”

Mari Kaye Rath, unlike most teenagers, would rather sell things than buy them. At 16 she’s one of the youngest auctioneers in the country. A straight-A math student in Burlington, Ill. (she’s also the chief statistician for her high school football games and track meets), Mari Kaye became interested in auctioneering four years ago when she started helping out around her family’s auction barn. Last summer she enrolled at the American Auction College in Iowa, where for two weeks, 14 hours a day, she learned the familiar auctioneering tongue twisters and number chanting and how to judge the value of things up for sale. Her auctioneer dad proudly says, “Mari Kaye has more guts than most auctioneers I’ve listened to. She’ll say anything up there to keep things going.” Mari Kaye’s panache has helped her peddle items ranging from $2 dishware to a $3,000 champion steer. She receives a standard 25 percent of the sale price. “That steer was tough,” she remembers. “It was the first time I had to auction something in cents per pound and that is awful hard to keep track of in bidding.” But the real challenge Mari Kaye says is “getting rid of the miscellaneous stuff—the junk.”