A virtual celebration of life was held on Tuesday, May 25 to remember Fred Anthony Calloway, a beloved husband, father, grandfather, and friend to many in Los Angeles. Calloway was born on June 10, 1937, in New Orleans, La. He passed on March 2.
Calloway’s liturgy of the resurrection was presided over by Deacon James Carper of St. Bernadette Catholic Church in Baldwin Hills. Due to the pandemic, there was not a public in-person celebration. Instead, it was attended virtually by hundreds of people via Zoom.
Calloway’s journey from New Orleans to Los Angeles began in August 1957, when he came to LA with his grandmother to visit family. At that moment in time, Calloway decided to call LA “home.” Soon after, he met and married Eugenia Johnson (Jeanie).
“He was our family’s patriarch and our hero,” wrote Calloway’s daughter-in-law, actress Vanessa Bell Calloway in a heartfelt message on social media the day after Fred’s passing.
Calloway was a successful Black businessman and entrepreneur in real estate in Leimert Park and elsewhere. He founded BC2 Environmental Corporation with his son, Dr. Anthony M. Calloway, and David Belasco, Esquire. The corporation was established in 1993 and specialized in environmental and geological drilling. He served as the corporation’s president and CEO. He was also founding president and board member of The Southern California Drillers Association.
Beginning in 1976, he co-owned and operated the Regency West, an event, party, and comedy theater, and the Calloway/Coleman Complex in Leimert Park. He purchased full ownership in 2007.
The Regency West has served as a staple in the Black community since the mid-70s. Calloway initially purchased the venue to host local, prominent Black social organizations that were often turned away from White establishments.
Through this success, Fred was approached by Michael Williams, founder of the Comedy Act Theater, to create a space for young Black comedians to perform. With Robin Harris as the host, the Regency West then became a launching pad for comedians such as Joe Tory, Guy Tory, Buddy Lewis, Lewis Dix, Kym Whitley, and many more. Presently, the Regency West still serves as a historical landmark in Leimert Park, hosting many events. and is run by his son, Tony Calloway, and granddaughters, Ashley and Ally Calloway.
According to family members, Fred once wrote that he wanted his friends and family to know that he had a blessed and marvelously happy life and wanted to be remembered with joy and happiness.
Calloway is survived by his spouse, Eugenia; son, Anthony; daughter-in-law Vanessa Bell Calloway; granddaughters, Ashley and Alexandra; sisters; Jane F. Johnson and Glynn Crawford; brothers: Terry Lee, (Sharon) and Paul Douglas; sister-in-laws: Glenda Washington (Eugene) and Jacqueline Paynes; brother-in-law, Warren Paynes; a host of relatives; and many caring friends. Calloway’s remains will be entombed at Holy Cross Mausoleum.