Andrew Hamm: the Bipolar Express

Ruminations on theatre, music, and just about anything else that crosses my bipolar brain.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Tribute to Curtis Morrisette

It brings me great sadness to pass along the news of the death of Curtis Morrisette.

By now, many of you will have received an email from Jil Wilson-Robinson. In case you haven't, I'll reprint it here:


This morning I have sad news to share with you and this really does sadden me. I just learned that our wonderful, joyful great friend, Curtis Morrisette passed on Saturday, November 17th.

Those of us who had the opportunity to share some time with Curtis know that he is a spitfire! I love his spirit! Curtis' battle with cancer was met with humor, bravery and honesty. Definitely a person who has influenced me and I am sure it's the same for you.

I just received a call from Cindy Collins at Berkshire Apts., where Curtis Morrisette was a resident. She is looking for any assistance to contact his family. She says that he had no names of anyone and she and the VA hospital are attempting to manage his affairs. If anyone knows anything, please let her know as soon as possible by calling 804-644-7861 or call me at 804-647-8411.

Take care.

Jil Robinson-Wilson
Vice President, Virginia Actors Forum

I have exactly one picture of Curtis. We worked together on The Taming of the Shrew two summers ago. This is the picture, taken by Eric Dobbs:

And I have two stories about Curtis to share, both from performances.

One night, early in the run, Curtis completely went up on his line. Blank stare; no idea. Being a man of action and practicality, he naturally whispered, "Line!" to the actors onstage with him. Somehow we got out of it, but not without years' worth of teasing material.

Later in the run, on the way offstage from a scene with Baptista (Thomas Nowlin), Curtis adlibbed, "No problem, Baptista," while exiting. Very Shakespearean, right?

"Line!" and "No problem, Baptista" became two of that delightful show's most precious in-jokes.

Curtis was a light and a spark at all times, energetic and positive and clearly loving every moment of his work as an actor. As the Priest, he wore a grey hairpiece that looked like three or four dead rats had been stitched together. Every night, he found new ways to wear it askew. He was utterly charming and seemingly tireless as the host of many Virginia Actor's Forum meetings, held in his own apartment building.

As much as we are diminished by his loss, we who have worked and played with Curtis can count ourselves blessed to have done so.

Line? No problem.

Now cracks a noble heart. --Good night, sweet prince,
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!


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