1998 Necrology: A List of Theatre People Who Died

News   1998 Necrology: A List of Theatre People Who Died
Looking back at the theatre-related people who died in 1998, Jerome Robbins immediately springs to mind because his work touched not only ballet dancers and dance audiences, but generations of musical theatregoers an practitioners. The director-choreographer of West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof and Gypsy had impact.

Looking back at the theatre-related people who died in 1998, Jerome Robbins immediately springs to mind because his work touched not only ballet dancers and dance audiences, but generations of musical theatregoers an practitioners. The director-choreographer of West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof and Gypsy had impact.

Yet, over the last 12 months hundreds of lesser-known theatre people also passed, leaving their own unique stamp, whether it was local or international: Arts journalists, regional directors, folks who were dedicated to community theatre, playwrights, young designers, aging film and stage actors and actresses.

Here's an alphabetical list:

Philip Abbott, TV, film and stage actor who co-founded Theatre West.

Elaine Aiken, co-founder of New York's Actors Conservatory. Ted Apstein, 80, UCLA playwriting teacher, screenwriter and playwright.

Ben Bagley, 64, eccentric producer of "Revisited" series of independent recordings of obscure or previously unrecorded show tunes on his own Painted Smiles label.

Marshall Barer, 75, lyricist of Once Upon a Mattress.

Laurie Beechman, 43, cabaret and Broadway star who was Grizabella in Cats and the wide-eyed narrator of 1982's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat revival.

Peter Bellanca, Detroit actor-lawyer-producer who ran Alley Theatre, worked at the Purple Rose Theatre Co. and produced at the Gem Theatre.

Lloyd Bridges, 85, TV and film actor who began on New York stage, making his Broadway debut in the Robert Edmond Jones staging of Othello.

Gregg Burge, 40, actor-dancer-choreographer from the film "A Chorus Line," and Broadway's The Wiz and 1991's Oh, Kay!

Henry Butler, 79, Broadway and regional director and librettist for opera, Mourning Becomes Electra.

Randolph Carter, 90, playwright and artistic associate of J.J. Shubert.

Dane Clark, 85, character actor from Group Theatre days who appeared in Waiting for Lefty, Of Mice and Men, Dead End and more.

Donna Coe, 47, New York City cabaret and comedy columnist.

Norma Connolly, 71, actress known as Aunt Ruby on "General Hospital" who played in Streetcar Named Desire and Night of the Iguana on Broadway.

Peter Cotes, 86, director of London's long-running The Mousetrap.

David Craig, 75, a vocal coach, arranger and music coordinator who was widower of Nancy Walker.

Jean Dalrymple, 96, producer-director who ran City Center in New York in the 1950s.

Louis Delgado Jr., 55, Obie Award-winning New York City playwright (The Blond Man) whose urban plays were presented by Repertorio Espanol and other groups.

Frederic Downs, 81, Broadway and Los Angeles-area actor.

Todd Duncan, 95, Broadway's original "Porgy" in the Gershwins' Porgy and Bess.

Edward Eliscu, 96, film and stage lyricist blacklisted during McCarthy era, who wrote for Broadway shows, Great Day! and Frederika.

Norman Fell, 74, onetime Broadway actor who found fame on TV as Mr. Roper on TV's "Three's Company."

Marje Fields, Broadway and film actors' agent.

Kenneth Frankel, 56, New York director of Off-Broadway's Quartermaine's Terms, The Common Pursuit and Circle Repertory's When You Comin' Back Red Ryder?

Fred Golden, 83, a theatre advertising veteran who handled ads for 1,000 Broadway shows, including Hello, Dolly!.

James Goldman, 71, playwright of The Lion in Winter and librettist of Follies and more.

Tommy Gomez, 77, Broadway dancer in ensembles of On the Town and Cabin in the Sky.

Hurd Hatfield, 80, stylish American actor known for British roles in film, "Picture of Dorian Gray," and classics in regional theatre and Broadway.

Roland Hewgill, 69, veteran Canadian actor with Stratford and Shaw Festivals.

Joan Hickson, 92, stage and TV actress best known for her late career "Miss Marple" role on British TV.

Tim Kelly, 67, playwright of some 400 published works, catering mostly to educational, stock and amateur troupes.

Warren Kliewer, director and educator who ran New Jersey's East Lynne Company, devoted to 19th-century American plays.

Phil Leeds, TV and stage character actor of the Broadway revival, Of Thee I Sing.

Bobo Lewis, 72, actress who won Drama Desk Award for Broadway's Working and played with Circle Rep and elsewhere.

Shari Lewis, 65, children's TV entertainer and "Lambchop" puppeteer who brought her show to Broadway.

Gary Lisz, 44, Broadway and ballet costume designer.

Sam Locke, 81, playwright and radio scriptwriter who penned Fair Game and The Vamp.

Jack Lord, 77, TV actor of "Hawaii Five-O" fame who began on the New York stage and studied at Actors Studio and Neighborhood Playhouse.

Joseph Maher, 64, Irish-born film, TV and stage character actor known for Joe Orton roles in New York, including Tony-nominated work in Loot, directed by John Tillinger.

E.G. Marshall, 84, stage (Waiting for Godot) and film ("Twelve Angry Men") actor.

Daniel Massey, 64, Broadway actor from She Loves Me, Taking Sides and more.

Roddy McDowall, 70, eternally boyish film and stage actor of "Planet of the Apes," Broadway's Camelot, 1995 tour of Dial M For Murder.

Bob Merrill, 74, lyricist of Carnival, Sugar, Take Me Along, Funny Girl, New Girl in Town, "How Much is That Doggie in the Window?," of suicide after a long illness.

Theresa Merritt, 75, actress of Broadway's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom.

Sigmund Miller, 87, blacklisted McCarthy-era playwright who wrote One Bright Day and Masquerade.

Maidie Norman, 85, film, TV and stage actress and who fought black stereotyping in the arts.

Dr. Ronald T. O'Leary, 59, DC-area educator and director on the University of Maryland faculty.

Edith Oliver, 84, drama critic, The New Yorker, known for her terse prose ("the good sets were by...").

Maureen O'Sullivan, stage and film actress known for "Tarzan" movie roles and Broadway's Mornings at Seven and Never Too Late.

Leo Penn, 77, TV and stage director, father of actor Sean Penn.

Harryetta Peterka, Director of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, the oldest school for actors in the English-speaking world.

Ellis Rabb, 67, director of New York's Association of Producing Artists (APA), which staged new work and revivals and merged with the Phoenix Theatre to become APA-Phoenix.

Jerome Robbins, 79, director and/or choreographer of Fiddler on the Roof, West Side Story, The King and I, Gypsy, Peter Pan, On the Town and more, plus co-founder New York City Ballet.

Flora Roberts, 77, longtime agent to Stephen Sondheim, Alfred Uhry and others.

Esther Rolle, 78, stage actress who was also on TV's "Good Times."

Woody Romoff, 79 Broadway and light opera actor (of the original She Loves Me), who toured in Sheldon Harnick's A Christmas Carol.

Stan Seiden, 76, president of Nederlander west coast venue booking and operations.

George Shdanoff, Los Angeles-area director and teacher who started with Michael Chekhov's acting troupe in England and New York.

Frank Sinatra, 82, "Chairman of the Board", legendary singer and actor who helped popularize show tunes including "Night and Day" and "The Lady is a Tramp," and who appeared in film versions of Broadway's On the Town, Guys and Dolls, Pal Joey and Can Can.

Philip Sterling, 76, regional and Broadway character actor known for role as adulterous father in Neil Simon's Broadway Bound.

Roger L. Stevens, 87, influential producer of Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller and others, who helped found the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC.

Dorothy Stickney, 101, of Broadway's hit, Life With Father.

Adele Thane, 94, founder of Boston Children's Theatre in 1951.

Michelle Thomas, actress on TV's "Family Matters" and in regional theatre (Betsey Brown in Philadelphia).

Holly Wantuch, 33, Chicago actress who performed in Killer Joe there and in London.

Ross Wetzsteon, 65, longtime Village Voice arts writer and theatre critic.

Jerome Weidman, 85, novelist ("I Can Get It For You Wholesale") and librettist (Fiorello!), father of librettist John Weidman.

Garland Wright, 52, director in New York (Sex and Longing, Vanities) and regional theatre who headed the Guthrie Theatre 1986-95.

Michael Zaslow, 54, Broadway and regional actor best known for soap roles on "One Life to Live" and "Guiding Light."

-- By Kenneth Jones

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