Distinguished Regional Actor James Lawless is Dead at 64

News   Distinguished Regional Actor James Lawless is Dead at 64 James Lawless, a distinguished regional theatre actor who played roles with Denver Center Theatre Company, The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C., The Guthrie Theater in Minnesota and Center Stage in Baltimore, and elsewhere, died Sept. 27 in Sante Fe, NM, after a long illness.
James Lawless in Picasso at the Lapin Agile.
James Lawless in Picasso at the Lapin Agile. (Photo by Photo by Dan McNeil)

James Lawless, a distinguished regional theatre actor who played roles with Denver Center Theatre Company, The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C., The Guthrie Theater in Minnesota and Center Stage in Baltimore, and elsewhere, died Sept. 27 in Sante Fe, NM, after a long illness.

Mr. Lawless was 64, according to a statement from Denver Center. He was a founding member of DCTC, and appeared in the nonprofit's 1979 inaugural production, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, with Tyne Daly. His final performance for DCTC was 19 years later as Gaston in Picasso at the Lapin Agile. Other Denver credits included Learned Ladies, Mine Alone, New Business, Long Day's Journey Into Night, Veterans Day, The Man Who Came to Dinner, Twelfth Night, King Lear and Henry IV.

He was scheduled to return to the Tony Award-winning DCTC in December to originate a role in the world premiere of 1933.

  "Jimmy was one of the treasures of this company," said Donovan Marley, DCTC artistic director. "He was a consummate professional with unlimited generosity of spirit, an actor who was revered by the audience and by his colleagues. His legacy includes the enhanced skills of scores of younger actors who came under his influence."

Mr. Lawless was a long-time company member of Minneapolis' Guthrie Theater where his most recent appearances included Much Ado About Nothing, Richard III and The Way of the World. He also frequently worked at the Arizona Theatre Company, Center Stage Baltimore and Washington DC's Shakespeare Theatre. Mr. Lawless is survived by his wife Sarah, a former executive director of DCTC; his son David; his daughters Robin, Julie, Mary and Wendy, a graduate of DCTC's National Theatre Conservatory, and four grandchildren.

-- By Kenneth Jones