IN MEMORIAM: Remembers Those We Lost in 2011

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29 Dec 2011

Vaclav Havel
Vaclav Havel

Dramatists Arthur Laurents, Romulus Linney and Lanford Wilson, producer Ellen Stewart, actor Tom Aldredge and his costume-designer wife Theoni V. Aldredge were among theatre people who left us in 2011. At year's end, Playbill remembers them and others who enriched our lives through their commitment to the stage.

The writer of the greatest libretto in the history of the musical theatre. A founder of the Off-Off-Broadway theatre scene, and one of her favorite playwrights. The original Sally Bowles. A peerless Tom Stoppard interpreter. A Tony-nominated veteran character actor and his Tony-nominated veteran costume designer. The man who produced A Raisin in the Sun. The woman who married the man who produced A Raisin in the Sun. The man who adapted A Raisin in the Sun into a musical.

Respectively, Arthur Laurents, Ellen Stewart, Lanford Wilson, Jill Haworth, John Wood, Tom Aldredge and Theoni V. Aldredge, Philip Rose, Doris Belack and Edwin Judd Woldin were just a few of the many theatre people we lost in 2011. As 2012 breaks, looks back to reflect on the contributions of some of the theatre folk who died in the past calendar year.

Some names you know, some had no international profile. They all made an impact. Whether their contributions were felt locally, regionally, nationally or around the world, the writers, producers, advocates, actors, composers, musicians, lyricists, directors, technicians and designers of the following list contributed to the welfare of the art form.

Full stories are archived in's Obituaries section.

Doe Avedon, 86, the unknown who was molded into a model and actress by husband, photographer Richard Avedon, on Dec. 18 in Los Angeles.

Vaclav Havel, the political playwright who became the elected president of Czechoslovakia and, later, the Czech Republic, on Dec. 18 in at his country home in Hradecek, Czech Republic.

Graham Brown, 87, an actor long associated with the Negro Ensemble Company, on Dec. 13 in Englewood, NJ.

Edwin Judd Woldin

Susan Gordon, 62, a child actress who appeared in her father's sci-fi "B" movies, on Dec. 11 in Teaneck, NJ.

Harry Morgan, 96, who played the salty but kindly career army man Col. Sherman T. Potter in the long-running television show "M*A*S*H," and was a familiar Hollywood character actor, on Dec. 7 at his home in Los Angeles.

Leo Friedman, 92, a photographer who captured many of the iconic images of the golden age of Broadway, on Dec. 2 at his home in Las Vegas.

Alan Sues, 85 who found fame in the late '60s for his zany performances on the free-form television comedy "Laugh-In," on Dec. 1 in his home in Los Angeles.

Thomas Martell Brimm, 75, an actor with credits at the New York Shakespeare Festival and Negro Ensemble Company, on Nov. 30 in Los Angeles.

Edwin Judd Woldin, 86, a musical composer best known for Raisin, an adaptation of Lorraine Hansberry's classic work A Raisin in the Sun, on Nov. 27.

Judy Lewis, 76, who had a number of stage and television parts during her career, but whose role of a lifetime was playing the secret child of two Hollywoods stars, Clark Gable and Loretta Young, on Nov. 25.

Rose Pickering, 64, grande dame of the Milwaukee theatre scene who, along with her husband James Pickering, acted in countless productions as a member of Milwaukee Rep's ensemble for nearly four decades, beginning in the early 1970s, on Nov. 24, in Milwaukee.

Irving Elman, 96, a Broadway playwright and a writer and producer for movies and television, on Nov. 22 in La Jolla, CA.

John Neville in Love's Labour's Lost at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, 1984.
photo by David Cooper

John Neville, 86, the respected British-born actor and director who was artistic director of Canada's Stratford Shakespeare Festival from 1985 to 1989, on Nov. 19 in Toronto.

Shelagh Delaney, 71, who had an international hit with A Taste of Honey, a play she wrote when she was still a teenager, on Nov. 20 at her daughter’s home in Suffolk, England.

Michael Hastings, 74, a British playwright who was cast as a member of the Angry Young Man set of the late 1950s, and wrote Tom and Viv, on Nov. 17.

Lee Pockriss, 87, the theatre and pop composer whose musicals include Broadway's Tovarich and Off-Broadway's Ernest in Love, on Nov. 14 at his home in Bridgewater, CT.

Leonard Stone, 87, a Tony Award nominee for his turn as George Poppett in Redhead in 1959, on Nov. 2 at his home in San Diego.


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