Gardena Cinema to celebrate life of matriarch

Photo by Gary Kohatsu CLOSE FAMILY—The Kim family, John, from left, Judy and Nancy have owned the Gardena Cinema since 1976. The theater had gone through different format, but had returned to showing first-run films in the 1990s.

The life of Gardena Cinema matriarch Nancy Kim will take place on Saturday, May 21 at the theater, daughter Judy Kim said. The service, which will begin with a reviewing at 10 a.m. All are welcome. Nancy will be laid to rest at Green Hills Cemetery in Rancho Palos Verdes at noon. That will be followed by a Karaoke send-off party at the Gardena Cinema at 1:30 p.m. Lunch and refreshments will be served at the send-off. The Kim family will “join the party as soon as we lay our beloved wife and mother to rest,” Judy said on the cinema’s Facebook page. Nancy Soo Myoung Kim died on Mother’s Day, May 8, 2022 after a long battle with endometrial cancer. She was 74. Kim’s husband, John, purchased the Gardena Cinema for her in 1976. Nancy dreamed of owning a theater as a youth growing up in South Korea, Judy Kim said. The Gardena Cinema had been showing first-run movies as recent as March 2020, before closing due to the COVID-19 lockdown. Judy Kim, who manages the Gardena Cinema, then reopened the theater in August 2021 by showing outdoor drive-in movies. Due to her mother’s declining health, the Gardena Cinema has been closed in recent months. Gardena Cinema has operated under different names, including the Park Theater.

Photo by Gary Kohatsu
FIRST LADY—Nancy Kim was the matriarch of the Gardena Cinema.
Her role was socializing with customers, which she cherished,
daughter Judy said.