A Final Curtain Call

My first encounter with Lisle Wilson was during my first year at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts/West in Pasadena, California when he directed me in Murry Schisgal’s play, All Over Town at the Charles Jehlinger Theatre.  He was a brilliant director and a remarkable human being.  Long after my days at AADA, we remained friends and from time to time, talked about projects we intended on doing.

As an actor, Lisle Wilson was best known for his role as Phillip Woode in Brian De Palma’s 1973 film, Sisters, with Margot Kidder and Dr. Loring in the 1977 sci-fi horror The Incredible Melting Man.

In the early 1970’s Lisle appeared in the films Cotton Comes to Harlem and Mississippi Summer and from 1974 to 1975, he starred as Leonard Taylor in ABC’s That’s My Mama.  He also appeared in episodes of ALF, Tales from the Crypt, Falcon Crest, Night Court, The White Shadow, and the 1988 TV movie, Disaster at Silo 7.  More at IMDb.

For several years, Lisle became the Director of AADA while the campus was still in Pasadena and later taught vocal techniques at the Academy of Radio and Television Broadcasting in Huntington Beach, California.

Earlier this evening, I decided to look up my old friend but only to learn that he had passed away shortly after our last communication earlier this year.

Lisle Astor Wilson, Jr., was born on September 2, 1943 in Brooklyn, New York, and died in Rancho Mirage, California, on March 14, 2010, at the age 66.  (Obituary)

I was so fortunate to have been one of Lisle’s students.  He was always kind and understanding even when I would dare to put him in the precarious position of asking him to look the other way, as I’d sneak off to a film or TV audition in the middle of rehearsals.  Clearly this was against AADA rules but the end justified the means when I landed my first real acting job on Dynasty which marked the beginning of my acting career.  The success of Lisle’s students outside AADA was a direct reflection of who he was as a teacher and mentor.

Godspeed dear friend until we meet again!