Queens hoarder remembered as ‘loving’, ‘kind-hearted’ friend

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The Emmy Award-winning woman who was found mummified and buried under a pile of garbage in her Queens home Tuesday was a beloved neighbor whose friends were concerned about her well being for months.

Evelyn Sakash, 66, was found in surrounded by debris in the house after her sister hired a cleaning crew to clear out her College Point home to see if she was inside.

Neighbor Laraine Memola, 68, told The Post that she had a gut feeling about her good friend’s demise — and insisted police search the house in October.

“Everybody told me I was wrong, because I knew she was in there. I knew it. And I begged them,” Memola said. “I begged the detectives working on the case to go in there. They guaranteed me she wasn’t in there.”

Memora said she met Sakash — a television, film and Broadway production designer — at a College Point VFW, and later moved right across the street from her. The duo became fast friends soon after.

Evelyn Sakash had a career in show business working as a production designer on shows like films like "Mermaids" and "Still Alice."
Evelyn Sakash had a career in show business working as a production designer on productions like “Mermaids” and “Still Alice.”

“I conversed with her on almost a daily basis, and she was just compassionate, loving, giving to both people and animals,” Memora, a former Radio City Music Hall Rockette, said.

“I have never known a more pure gentle kind-hearted spirit. And I hate to see a lot of the negativity that is being spread or written because of the hoarding.”

The two always hung out in public, and Memora said she was in the dark about Sakash’s deadly habit.

“I didn’t know that Evelyn … I never went in her house, so I didn’t know she was doing all that,” she said.

Sakash skipped grades in school and graduated Queens College with high honors, according to her friend.

She worked on dozens of notable sets since the mid 1980s, winning an Emmy for her work on “Between the Lions.”

The production expert also dressed stages on Broadway, Memora said. But that work dried up with the rest of show business at the start of the pandemic.

Memora, and dozens of friends in a private Facebook group called “Evelyn We Love You,” have been agonizing over Sakash’s disappearance since October. When the bad news came Tuesday night, Memora was in a enough of a frenzied state to require hospitalization.

"Made in America" was one of the films Evelyn Sakash worked on during her career in show business.
“Made in America” was one of the films Evelyn Sakash worked on during her career in show business.
Alamy Stock Photo

“I got so upset last night when all this was discovered. And it was what I said and no one addressed it,” Memora said, referring to her October preminiation. 

“I was tired. I was walking and I just fell in the middle of the street.  I was so upset and I had to go to the hospital, and I have a small fracture in my arm,” she said.

“I do feel good that we got the closure but I don’t feel good about the outcome,” the friend said.

“She was a wonderful spirit, a wonderful soul. Always loving and giving.”



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Erin Mosley

Erin Mosley writes for the Hollywood section of Newzinto.