Playbill® Incorporated mourns the loss of Russell Cannizzaro, our beloved Secretary and Treasurer who died on Aug. 7 at the South Nassau Community Hospital after a short battle with cancer. He was 73 and lived in Baldwin, Long Island, with his wife Trudy.
Mr. Cannizzaro joined Playbill in June 1944 as an assistant bookkeeper, and enjoyed explaining that when he began his career, the accountants were still wearing garters on their sleeves and making their ledger entries with feathered pens. At the time of his death, he was still an integral part of the Playbill family and was as adept at using modern computer programs as those half his age.
Mr. Cannizzaro worked with various Playbill publishers throughout his career, and in 1973 he helped form Playbill Incorporated, which became the leading theatrical publication in the country.
Arthur Birsh, the Chairman of Playbill, worked with Mr. Cannizzaro for more than 40 years and recently said, "I have lost a dear friend. Russ was truly a great man. His impact on the Playbill we know today was profound, and he will be missed not only for his unending conscientiousness and devotion to Playbill, but also for his great spirit and joy he brought to everyone who knew him."
Mr. Cannizzaro's accounting staff referred to him in similarly glowing terms, explaining that he was a "true gentleman," "an unfailing rock of support," "a devoted husband, father and son" while noting his "kindness" and "affection for his family and friends." An avid gardener, Mr. Cannizzaro often brought in bags of cherry tomatoes and zucchini to share with his co-workers. Mr. Cannizzaro is survived by his wife Trudy; his son Russell, Jr., his daughter-in-law Diane and their two children; his sisters, Jane and Theresa; his brother Carl; and his father James.
—Playbill On-Line Staff