Sandra Jersey Dempsey Madden, A.B.’61

Sandra Jersey Dempsey Madden
My first year at the University of Miami, I spent most of my time at the Ring Theater as a drama major. But then a friend suggested we might find actual regular paycheck careers if we switched to the Radio/TV/Film department – as it was called then. Who studied radio, television or film? We did. UM boasted one of the first departments of its kind in the nation, headed, appropriately enough, by Dr. Head.

But most of my classes were either with Professor Paul Nagle or Jack Metzger.

For three years I acted in thirty-minute, live radio dramas on an almost weekly basis. We had no radio or TV studios at the time so Theater X was broadcast over WIOD. Until his students proved their expertise, Jack Metzger wrote, produced and directed the series. Inevitably in these live broadcasts, I played the heroine. Usually, the tragic heroine. I credit this experience as having set me on a course of no return. Romance and fantasy became my fate. Thanks to Mr. Metzger.

I spent a memorable year as student assistant to Professor Nagel. And like so many other students, I took his writing courses. During one of Miami’s hot summers I also studied acting at his private theater workshop with a friend, who’d for all intents and purposes had become my acting partner.

Paul also was instrumental in helping me get my first job as copywriter at WIOD. For the next 15 years, I wrote broadcast copy and promotion as well as doing voice-over work for radio and television stations in South Florida and Los Angeles.

Deciding my children needed to be near family, I returned to Miami from L.A. and became a writer/producer and host for WLRN-TV. It was there I began writing romance novels at the urging of a friend who thought as a writing team we could quickly turn out fun, escape books. By the time she realized she didn’t have time, I was hooked and determined. I wrote every night after the day job and every weekend until I was finally published. Romance and fantasy in fifteen books, most translated into five languages. UM’s Theater X in a book. I published with two different New York publishing companies and now am considering, as so many of my colleagues are, self-publishing. Re-issues of several of my novels are now available on Amazon and there’s a short blurb on most at my website at

UM gave me a career for life. Most likely I will continue to write until I can no longer make it to the keyboard! Even age has its perks however. In the new year I’ll be writing a blog for women of a certain agelessness at

I met the father of my beautiful and brilliant children at UM, and I am married to a man I dated at the university, Dave Madden. Although I don’t see them often, the people closest to my heart are friends I made all those years ago at UM. The people I grew up with.

And fortunately, through the years I’ve been able to spend time with Paul Nagel and Jack Metzger, mentors and friends. Thanks to them. Thank you, UM.

One thought on “Sandra Jersey Dempsey Madden, A.B.’61

  1. Hi Sandy,
    We both became writers. Now I’m back in Coral Gables, but that’s a long story. Sorry for your loss. Dave was something special. I understand that Jack just left us as well. Let me know if you want to have lunch one day.
    Sandy Evans

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