Sunday, June 2, 2013

Jean Stapleton

She spent some time in my town about 30 years ago.

She starred in a comedy, "The Show-Off" by George Kelly, for the professional theater company in town. Orson Bean, whom people my age probably know best from his appearances as a panelist on "To Tell the Truth," was also in it.

The theater company, which still exists, is one of the gems of our community, and it's not unusual for famous performers to come here to do plays just for the company. Its founding director, who died a few months ago, was very much respected in the theatrical community at large, and the company has attracted such performers as Sam Waterston, James Whitmore, Ben Gazzara and John Cullum.

"The Show-Off" was directed by William Putch, who also happened to be Stapleton's husband.

In "The Show-Off," Stapleton played a woman whose husband dies during the course of the play.

During her stay in Syracuse, William Putch died of a heart attack.

A few hours after he died, Stapleton performed as scheduled.

There was no performance on the day of Putch's funeral, but other than that she continued with the play for the rest of its run.

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