Ellis Rabb Biography (1930-1998)

Born June 20, 1930, in Memphis, TN; died of heart failure, January 11, 1998,in Memphis, TN. Actor, director, producer.

Rabb is remembered for his theater work, both on stage and behind the scenes.He is credited with founding a "national theater" in the United States. HisAssociation of Producing Artists (APA) was formed in the 1960s. Rabb pursuedan interest in the theater first as an actor. "I started out to be an actor,"he once said, as noted in the Los Angeles Times. "I became a directorout of self-defense, out of frustration with the direction I found." His stage appearances inlcuded roles in King John, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Taming of the Shrew, A Life in the Theater, TheMan Who Came to Dinner, and Much Ado about Nothing. With the APA he appeared in As You Like It, The School for Scandal, and Hamlet, among others. His directorial credits included The Tavern, The Seagull, Right You Are (If You Think You Are), A Penny for a Song, and Hamlet, all with the APA. For other companies, he directed The Grass Harp, The Royal Family, and The Merchant ofVenice, among others. His producer credits with the APA include Ghosts, A Phoenix Too Frequent, and Exit the King. Later productions included The Glass Menagerie and Morning's at Seven. Rabbalso dabbled in writing. He penned Clap Your Hands with Nicholas Martin, which was performed at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego in 1983. He alsotranslated works such as Two Philoctetes and The Loves of Anatol. Of this theater work, the New York Times wrote that "Rabb devotedhimself passionately to his profession. Though born in Tennessee and trainedin the United States, he was very much in the mode of the celebrated Englishactor-managers. In common with Laurence Olivier and others, he was a workingman of the theater as well as a visionary." Rabb turned in performances as anactor on television as well. He appeared in the movie The Dain Curseand in the series Cheers and St. Elsewhere. His work with the APA ended in 1969 when the group disbanded. Among the honors he received during his prolific career were two Antoinette Perry Awards, the Los Angeles DramaCritics' Circle Award, a Drama Desk Award, and an Obie. Rabb also spent timeworking on his autobiography that he tentatively called Spilt Milk.

Actor, Director, Producer
Birth Details
June 20, 1930
Memphis, Tennessee, United States
Death Details
January 11, 1998
Memphis, Tennessee, United States

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