David Schall, of Hollywood's Actor's Co-Op, Dead at 53

Obituaries   David Schall, of Hollywood's Actor's Co-Op, Dead at 53 David Schall, 53, one of the founders of Actor's Co-Op, died April 11 in Hollywood, shortly before the opening night curtain of Uncle Vanya, in which he was to appear, Variety reported.
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Mr. Schall, an actor and producer who played roles on stage and TV, co-founded Actor's Co-op in 1987 and later created Inter-Mission, Act One: Writing for Hollywood and recently created Hollywood 101. He began Inter-Mission in New York City and other cities around the country, Variety reported. He won six Drama-Logue awards for producing and one for ensemble performance.

Mr. Schall's last TV role will be on May 1's "ER," in which he plays a minister at a funeral.

The Uncle Vanya opening night and gala were postponed to April 25. At the time of his death from a massive heart attack, friends say, Mr. Schall was in his car, pulling up to the Crossley Theatres at Hollywood Presbyterian Church, to prepare for opening night of Uncle Vanya.

"He had a heart attack in his car, right in front of his favorite place in the world — the theatre," according to an email sent out by friends.

Mr. Schall was a native of Ford City, PA, and a graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where he majored in political science and psychology. He ran the Indiana County campaign which helped lead to the 1970 election of Pennsylvania's Governor Milton J. Shapp (1971-78).

From 1971-76, Mr. Schall served in the governor's administration in a number of capacities from executive assistant and press secretary to Pennsylvania's Attorney General to the position of public relations director for the governor's re-election campaign in 1974.

In the fall of 1976, he left his career in politics and public service and moved to New York City to pursue his childhood dream of acting, according to friends and colleagues. After training at various acting studios, he acted in numerous Off-Off Broadway, Off Broadway, regional, and dinner theatre productions, daytime dramas, commercials and industrial films.

In February 1981, he began the Actors Fellowship at the Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan (where Norman Vincent Peale preached for 52 years). In less than three years, the group grew from an original membership of 4 to more than 300 actors, singers, and dancers who attended a variety of churches throughout Manhattan.

To be better equipped to minister to the growing needs of the fellowship, he attended classes at New York's General Seminary, New York Theological Seminary and the Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry in Ambridge, PA.

After three years of being a part-time seminary student and actor, friends say he sensed the need to make a choice between the two in order to focus his energies. He relocated to Los Angeles in January 1986 and continued his acting career. He joined the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood and became one of the founding members of the Actors Co-Op in January 1987. His professional credits include Off-Broadway productions of Night Shift and Even In Laughter. Television credits include "ER," "Family Law," "Port Charles," "L.A. Law," "Murder She Wrote," "Cheers," "Days Of Our Lives" and "The Young And The Restless."

For the Actors Co-Op, Mr. Schall appeared in the award winning productions of The Traveling Lady, Pack Of Lies, See How They Run and The 1940's Radio Hour.

He served as a board member of Actors Co-Op for seven years and as the producing director for its first five seasons. He was recently director of 4000-member Inter Mission organization, a religious organization that operates in several states.

He also served as the executive director of the Department of Entertainment Ministries at Hollywood Presbyterian Church where he was a member since 1987.