Among the Stars:  It is with sadness to share the passing of our 1995 Petersburg High School Classmate and movie star friend Mark Madison, who passed away suddenly.

by Patrick D. McCoy

Many of us who were students at Petersburg High School in 1995 remember it like it was yesterday.  The halls were abuzz that one of our very own peers Mark Madison was going to be cast as Cadet Fox in the hit movie “Major Payne” which starred legendary actor Damon Wayans.  It was the perfect fit, as one of the many things that Mark excelled in was his love for JROTC.  The scene in which he twirls his rifle while blindfolded was amazing in itself.  We all knew who Blair Underwood was, but now we had another movie star!

In recent years, Mark relocated back Petersburg and lived a humble life.  Many people had come to know him as their number one take out delivery man.  Though he had encountered some hardships, he used his facebook page to share his journey back to wholeness.  On a personal note, I admired his transparency and often encouraged him to tell his story on a larger scale.   I would often respond to his facebook posts and just recently wished him a Happy Birthday.

Read an excerpt of one of his last facebook public posts.  Everyone was pulling for him:

“It felt so damn good to graduate drug court today. I kept my speech short and to the point. I talked about what I was facing before I entered drug court. I talked about what the other participants had to do to one day be where we were today. I talked about how long I’ve used drugs. And I told them that there aren’t just 3 core things that we all have to do to complete drug court.
1) be honest
2) show up
3) stay clean” 

This was the kind of transparency that inspired many of his facebook followers to live in their true authentic selves.  We extend our deepest sympathies to the family and will  inform of the arrangements for Mark.


–A native of Petersburg, Virginia, Patrick D. McCoy is a graduate of Virginia State University and Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, Virginia.  He has been an arts contributor for, CBS Washington, The Afro American Newspaper and most recently was the Performing Arts Columnist at Washington Life Magazine for four years. As a church musician, he currently serves as Organist/Choirmaster at Saint John’s Episcopal Church (Zion Parish) in Beltsville, Maryland.   Visit for all of your arts news and send press releases and ideas to