Born April 29, 1931, in Chicago (one source says Evanston), IL; died July 30,1991, in Los Angeles, CA. Director, producer and actor. Ball is best known as the founder and general director of American Conservatory Theatre (ACT), which is credited with the revival of San Francisco theatre in the mid 1960s. Ball began his career as an actor and director in regional theatre troops andShakespearean festivals during the 1950s, playing major roles in Julius Caesar, The Tempest, and Hamlet. Ivanov, his 1958 Off-Broadway directorial debut, received both an Obie Award and a Vernon Rice Drama Desk Award. Ball went on to direct eighty-seven productions in California,London, Texas, and New York, receiving awards in the early 1960s for Off-Broadway productions of Under Milk Wood and Six Characters in Search of an Author. He founded the American Conservatory Theater in 1965, movingit to San Francisco in 1967. In addition to producing and directing the productions, Ball raised enough funds to add a second theatre and, in 1971, a theatre arts training academy. After his resignation from ACT in 1986, Ball played British-born poet W. H.
Auden in a Public Broadcasting System (PBS) production of Voices from Sandoner and appeared in the film Suburban Commando. In 1984, Ball published A Sense of Directing: Some Observations on the Art of Directing.