Donald Christopher, Regional Theatre Actor, is Dead

News   Donald Christopher, Regional Theatre Actor, is Dead
 
Donald Christopher, who appeared in more than 100 regional theatre productions around the country since 1978, when he left a teaching career, died June 4 of cancer, according to his colleagues at Buffalo's Studio Arena Theatre.

Donald Christopher, who appeared in more than 100 regional theatre productions around the country since 1978, when he left a teaching career, died June 4 of cancer, according to his colleagues at Buffalo's Studio Arena Theatre.

Mr. Christopher had performed as Walter in the summer 1998 Studio Arena workshop of Over the Tavern Part II: King O' the Moon, and rehearsed and opened the full production in November 1998, but was diagnosed with throat and stomach cancer while in Buffalo. He left the show prematurely.

The Studio Arena show was such a hit in November-December 1998 it was brought back in May-June 1999, when the returning company got word of Mr. Christopher's death. Cast members remembered him at five curtain speeches during the revival engagement and raised $1650 to be donated to the Roswell Cancer Institute of Buffalo.

"He was one of those true regional theatre actors -- he worked non-stop," said King O' the Moon cast member Stephen Kunken. "He was such an honest and generous actor. He was a joy to be around. Whenever they say, 'one of the good ones,' they talked about Don."

Kunken said the cast thought it was fitting to remember Mr. Christopher on the last stage he performed on. Mr. Christopher, a Brooklyn-based actor, appeared in Greetings! at Studio Arena, and performed at many regional theatres, including Alabama Shakespeare Festival (Lepidus in Antony and Cleopatra), Cincinnati Playhouse (Harvey, The Notebook of Trigorin, The Seagull) and Asolo Theatre and TheatreVirginia (he played his favorite role, Father Tim in Mass Appeal, at both theatres). Mr. Christopher, a bonsai and computer-games enthusiast, also appeared 0ff-Broadway in Shelly Berman's First is Supper and was seen on TV's "Law and Order," "Guiding Light" and "All My Children."

He is survived by his wife, Anne Chambless.

-- By Kenneth Jones

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