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Walt Witcover, Class of 1940

Walt Whitcover died November 15, 2013 at age 89. Received three battle stars (the Battle of North France, the Battle of Rhineland and the Battle of Austria) after serving in World War II as a Combat Field Artilleryman, then obtained his BA and MA from Cornell. His career as actor, director and teacher spanned more than 50 years: he directed in Lee Strasberg’s Actors Studio Directors Unit after studying under Strasberg, where his production of Verdi’s La Traviata won the Actors Studio Total Theatre Award. Walt also studied under Herbert Berghof and Curt Conway, and taught acting and directing at HB Studio for over 25 years. He later taught at the Stella Adler Studio, and was Professor of Theatre Arts at SUNY Purchase and in Baltimore. As co-founder and Artistic Director of Masterworks Laboratory Theatre, he staged over 30 productions of classic plays and operas, plus poetry, song and story-theatre projects. Three of his Off-Broadway productions won Obie Awards. Actors he taught or directed include Barbara Barrie, Robert Clohessy, Anne Meara and Jerry Stiller.
The author of “Living on Stage: Acting from the Inside-Out: A Practical Process” in 2004, he also published “My Road, Less Traveled: Becoming an Actor, a Director, a Teacher” in 2011. Walt was predeceased by his partner of over 30 years, Richard Hughes, in 1996. Survivors include brother Tom Scheinman; sisters in law Bonnie and Evie; nieces Amy, Jessica, Joanne, Laurel and Peggy; grand-niece Liza, grand-nephews Griffin, Jackson, Koby, and Kyle; cousin Doug; his stage manager of 15 years Michael Stebbins; and by hundreds of students who carry on his theatre legacy. Memorial service to be held on March 22, 2014. Published in New York Times, December 1, 2013.