Diana Gibson, Longtime Presence in L.A. Theatre Scene, Dies at 69

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05 Aug 2014

Diana Gibson, a playwright and artistic director who was a presence in the Los Angeles theatre scene for more than 30 years, died July 17 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. She was 69.

Ms. Gibson was the subscription manager of the Fountain Theatre for 15 years. Prior to that, she spent a decade as the artistic director and producer of the Cast Theatres, a two-theatre complex in Hollywood. In the latter role, she earned a reputation as a tough taskmaster, demanding much from the artists with whom she worked.

Her long partnership with playwright Justin Tanner resulted in the long-running, late-night show Zombie Attack!, among other plays. Actors who appeared at the Cast included Mark Ruffalo and French Stewart.

She earned a master's degree in painting and drama from USC. She began her career in the late '70s as a playwright, producing a rock musical version of Cinderella, among others. She did not meet with much success, however.

She was hired as literary manager of Cast Theatres in 1984. In 1990, she rose to the position of artistic director. She left the theatre after a disagreement with Tanner, whose plays were a mainstay at Cast, according to the L.A. Times.



"We did not speak for 15 years," Tanner told the paper. "The damage we did in the volatile [final] period at the theater was scorched earth. I’ve never been as brutal, and never been treated as brutally."

Soon after, Ms. Gibson joined the Fountain. In recent years, she lived in an apartment above the theatre.