Just one day after the June 16 death of Hal DeWindt, founder of the American Theatre of Harlem, comes news of the death of another titan of African-American theatre in New York, actress Frances Foster, a founding member of the Negro Ensemble Company. According to the NY Post, the 73-year-old actress died June 17 of a cerebral hemorrhage. Foster (born Frances Brown) appeared in more than 25 Negro Ensemble Company productions between 1967-86, winning an Obie in 1985 for Sustained Excellence.
After receiving early training at the American Theatre Wing, Foster supported her theatre career by working in soap operas. Roles included 1969's Man Better Man, 1970's Day Of Absence, and 1978's Nevis Mountain Dew, all at NEC, and NEC's Broadway production of The First Breeze Of Summer in 1975.
--By David Lefkowitz