LOS ANGELES -- Philip Abbott, a co-founder and driving force in the Theatre West organization, died recently of cancer.
Abbott, a stage, film and television actor and director best known as the bureau boss of Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., in the long-running series "The FBI," was 74.
Abbott participated actively in numerous Theatre West projects, including the main role in a play about the poet Robert Frost. He also directed or wrote such plays as The Web and the Rock, O Socrates and Sonata for Rimbaud. In addition, he was highly praised for performances in Tom Tom on a Rooftop and The Seagull.
When asked last year about his love of theatre, Abbott told the Los Angeles Times, "It has just been such an uninterrupted part of my life. It parallels everything else I've done. Most of the stuff you get paid for in television and films is such dreck. From an actor's point of view, with training and years of experience, what they call upon you to do is less than challenging. You can continue to be challenged in a place like Theatre West, not only as an actor, but as a writer, a director. It's really quite remarkable. It's like a watering hole."
In 1993 Abbott worked with his son, the actor and writer David Abbott Alexander, directing him in a play called The Routine. A memorial service isn scheduled for Mar. 21 at 4 PM at Theatre West.
The family has asked that any memorial donations be made to the United Cerebral Palsy-Spastic Children's Foundation, 11061 Santa Susana Rd., Chatsworth, CA 91311.
-- By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent