Lincoln Center Actor Robert Symonds Dead at 80

Obituaries   Lincoln Center Actor Robert Symonds Dead at 80
Actor Robert Symonds, an associate director of the Repertory Theatre of Lincoln Center in New York for eight years, and an actor there for more than ten years in the 1960s and '70s, died Aug. 23 of complications of prostate cancer in Los Angeles, Variety reported.
Robert Symonds and Priscilla Pointer
Robert Symonds and Priscilla Pointer Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Mr. Symonds was 80. In the feverish San Francisco theatre scene of the 1950s and '60s, the Oklahoma native was a member of the San Francisco Actor's Workshop, performing the work of European writers including Bertolt Brecht, Harold Pinter, Samuel Beckett and others. Priscilla Pointer, who was married to the workshop's co-founder, Jules Irving, was a frequent co-star there. Irving would move on to run Lincoln Center Repertory Theater — and Pointer and Mr. Symonds followed.

Mr. Symonds served as Lincoln Center's associate director until 1972. Pointer and Mr. Symonds married in 1981 after Irving's death in 1979.

Symonds made his Broadway debut in 1965 in Lincoln Center's revival of Danton's Death, according to Internet Broadway Database. A decade of roles at Lincoln Center would follow. He was the title character in Lincoln Center's Cyrano de Bergerac in 1968.

In 1984 he appeared in Manhattan Theatre Club's In Celebration by David Storey.

He also acted, directed or associate directed at the Mitzi Newhouse Theater at Lincoln Center. Mr. Symonds' screen credits include work on TV's "Dynasty" and "MASH" and the films "Catch Me If You Can," "Primary Colors," "The Exorcist," "Micki and Maude," "Rumpelstiltskin," "And Justice for All" and "The Ice Pirates." Other TV appearances include "Quincy M.E.," "The Rockford Files" and "E.R." and playing Benjamin Franklin in "The Adams Chronicles." He was Robert E. Lee in "The Blue and The Grey."

Mr. Symonds was also a guest director and actor at regional theatres around the country.

According to Variety, Mr. Symonds studied acting at the University of Texas at Austin and began performing in theatres in the West, including playing Shakespeare in Ashland, OR. He was invited to join the Actor's Workshop in San Francisco after appearing in Ashland.

In addition to his wife, Priscilla Pointer, Mr. Symonds is survived by children Vicki Morrison, Barry Symonds and Rebecca Wooldridge; six granddaughters; three stepchildren, David, Katie and Amy Irving, the actress; and five step-grandchildren.

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