Malcolm M. Drummond, 69

Malcolm M. Drummond
Malcolm M. Drummond
Posted: June 25, 2013

Malcolm M. Drummond was a self-taught hoofer from North Philadelphia. As a boy, he cut the lids off cans, nailed them to his shoes, and tapped for coins on the sidewalk across from City Hall.

His dancing took him to New York, where he performed in musicals like Hello Dolly and also worked as an extra in soap operas. Hollywood beckoned, and Mr. Drummond found steady jobs in the 1980s as a stunt man in movies.

But with his professional highs came personal lows, including a period of cocaine addiction and stretches of homelessness.

Mr. Drummond, 69, was the focus of a story in The Inquirer on Nov. 27, 2008, that described his efforts to rebuild his life. At the time, he was living in housing provided by Christ of Calvary Covenant Church in West Philadelphia and dealing with multiple health issues, including diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

On June 16, Mr. Drummond died of lung disease. Friends said he left a legacy of helping others.

Three years ago, Mr. Drummond became an active volunteer at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, working as a special peer educator for patients with diabetes.

Neva White, a nurse practitioner and diabetes educator at Jefferson, said Mr. Drummond was resentful when he first showed up at the hospital to participate in group counseling on diabetes.

"He was angry that his body was failing," she said. But that anger "fueled him to want to do something not only for himself, but for other people with diabetes."

Mr. Drummond volunteered several days a week, helping White with her weekly sessions. He also served as a "health mentor," giving the patient's point of view on chronic illnesses to students in medicine and other health professions.

A memorial service for Mr. Drummond will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday, June 29, at Christ of Calvary Covenant Church, 500 S. 61st St. in West Philadelphia.

The Rev. Dr. Rodney D. Rogers, pastor of the church, said Mr. Drummond had "a gift for adventure," but came to realize that the "perks of fame" carried a heavy toll. "He moved from a selfish way of life to a more generous life of helping others," he said.

"He realized some of his adventures had caused damage in his relationship with family and friends," said Erika Harding, Mr. Drummond's niece. "He was attempting to make amends."

Mr. Drummond is survived by two brothers and a sister; two daughters; two grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.


Contact Jennifer Lin at 215-854-5659, or jlin@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @j_linq.

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