Ted Bales, the Chicago actor who made good playing a crooning priest in the hit comedy, Party, died Feb. 10 in New York City, according to his family.
Mr. Bales, an actor, comedian, singer and writer, died of complications from primary pulmonary hypertension at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan. He was 35.
Mr. Bales was most widely known for his performance as the outrageous, Karen Carpenter-crooning priest in the gay-themed comedy, Party, by David Dillon. He originated the role in Chicago, and was nominated for a Joseph Jefferson Award, and went on to play the wildly comic part in productions in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami and San Francisco. He performed the role over 1,100 times.
"Ted was truly one of the most gifted human beings I have ever encountered," Dillon told Playbill On-Line. "His brilliance in comedy was not just a gift to his audiences, but to anyone who knew or worked with him. He was a comedy writer's dream -- I don't know that I'll ever find a kindred spirit in comedy quite like him."
Born in Chicago on Oct. 19, 1964, Mr. Bales grew up in Park Ridge, IL, and attended The University of Iowa before transferring to the Goodman School of Drama. After finishing his training, he spent many years writing, directing, producing and acting in the Chicago theatre community, notably in the Neo-Futurists' Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind and in his two one-man shows, Surrender and Beyond Surrender. He also co-produced and co directed Operation Pride, a benefit for the Human Rights Campaign Fund starring Nora Dunn, which was the first ever all-gay event at the Chicago Improv. In 1997, Mr. Bales wrote and starred in another one-man show, Ted Bales: Lost in the Stars, which ran in Chicago and San Francisco. His final stage performance was in Chicago in The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), which also earned him rave reviews in Kansas City.
Mr. Bales lived in New York City and is survived by survived by his parents, Ted and Barbara Bales of Park Ridge, IL; sisters Katie Bales of Des Plaines, IL, and Karen Bales of Lombard, IL; and a brother, Timothy Bales of Hoffman Estates, IL.
Per his request, there is no funeral or memorial. In his memory, donations may be made to the Catholic Charities Adoption Services, 651 West Lake Street, Chicago, IL. 60661.
-- By Kenneth Jones