IN REMEMBRANCE

ANTHONY WALSH

    As Chebutykin                       As Kent              As the Player King
 The Three Sisters                     King Lear                     Hamlet


Anthony (Tony) Walsh, age 64, beloved husband of Mary, son of Michael and Elizabeth {both deceased), brother of Thomas, Michael (deceased), and Daniel Walsh and Elizabeth Constantino, all of Cleveland, and loving uncle to his many nieces and nephews, died unexpectedly on March 12, 2005.

A criminal defense attorney in private practice, Tony worked with Legal Aid while in law school and was politically active all his life, including defending students who were arrested after the Kent State shootings, Ohio University students arrested for protesting, and inmates who were charged after the Attica riots of 1971, He also served as a Magistrate in the Cleveland Housing Court.

Tony was a member of the National Lawyers Guild and the ACLU.

In 1970, Tony was nominated for a Carnegie Medal for saving two boys who had fallen through the ice at the Art Museum lagoon.

An actor as well as an attorney, Tony acted at many theatres in Cleveland, including Dobama Theatre, Center Repertory Theatre, Phoenix Theatre Ensemble, The Cleveland Theatre Company, Bodwin Theatre Company, and the Cleveland Play House, and won a special Cleveland Critics' Circle award in 1984 for his body of work. He also appeared in several movies, including "Citizen Cohn", which starred James Woods,

A lifelong Clevelander, Tony graduated from John Adams High School, Kent State University and CWRU School of Law. He also served in the U.S. Army from 1958 to 1961,

Memorial donations may be made to Dobama Theatre, 1846 Coventry Road, Cleveland Heights, OH 44118, and Bodwin Theatre Company, 3667 Avalon Road, Shaker Heights, OH 44120.


Jean Zarzour

My heart is broken in a million pieces. I had the honor of working with Tony in A Lie Of The Mind maaaany years ago now. He has held a very highly respected, warm place in my heart ever since. He was a rare artist and unconditional supporter of all artists........one of the first to respond to my call for the upcoming discussion. I can't imagine this community without him.

You mad Irish gentleman. You shall be sorely missed by this mad Arab woman with "soft Leventine eyes".


Debra Wiener (Strekal)

I remember a party at my home with the Walshes present, and a party at their home (wild!)....early to mid 80s. Tony and Mary are both characters! I love their truth seeking and truth speaking. People after my own heart. My ex and I brought "special" books back for them from Eastern Europe (before the wall fell)...I can't forget that. Always open to hearing the truth in any form. Always defending the defenseless. And Tony, a great actor with a wit to match his heart of gold!

Jean, I too, remember A Lie of the Mind, that jewel of a show I produced at the now defunct Euclid Little Theatre. Oh what a cast! Tony was subtlely grand; you were beautiful; Mario was dynamic. I heard Duane went on to get an MFA in Theatre. And everyone else....talk about a perfect cast! I was so honored that Tony consented to do the show!

We were all blessed to know him. His spirit will always be with us.  Joyce, he will still be in his tux on opening nights. Don't be surprised if cups of tea appear out of the air for those actors. Tony's spirit was and is that strong!

Hugs to everyone at this difficult time, especially dear Mary. I know you will keep fighting for Truth, Mary. You have my respect and my condolences.


Jeffrey Grover

As recently as two weeks ago, Tony touched my life at Dobama. During opening week of "The Exonerated," Tony was backstage, offering tea and encouraging thoughts.
Tony always had the ability to appear almost out of nowhere, and yet when he appeared his presence radiated with insight and thought provoking commentary.

Tony is a person who seemed to know himself well, having addressed many challenges in life with a resolving sense of self that seemed more real than anything that could be put on stage.

I will miss him, not really having known him as I may have, had I taken the time. Yet, I feel as if I will come to know him as I reflect back, and hear and read how others were touched by his being.

I am appreciative for those moments at Dobama just a few short days ago.



Bud Hilf

I had the honor of working with Tony and Mary on several productions at Dobama. My first opportunity to meet them was when I was hired two days before opening night to stage manage "For Reasons That Remain Unclear." Both Mary and Tony made a novice stage manager with only two or three shows under his belt feel welcome.

My wife Carrie and I also had the chance to work with Tony and Mary on "Angels in America" when it was performed in repertory at Dobama. We both enjoyed the hours spent listening to Tony's stories and views of the world.

The thing I remember most about Tony is that if you wanted to engage in a discussion with him, you had to bring your 'A' game. Tony knew his stuff and wasn't afraid to let you know that he did. Dobama will not feel the same without him.


Eric Coble
Just thought I'd add a huge thank you to Tony and Mary for being so supportive during the run of "Sound-Biting" at Dobama lo those many years ago in '96. It was my first fully-produced full-length, I was still on my wobbly new-foal legs as a playwright, and I'll always remember Mary's supportive smiles and laughter backstage, and Tony sitting with me in the green room going over details of the dialogue and action, urging me to keep going, to keep writing, keep creating theatre.
I am.
He did.
Godspeed, Tony.
Peace...



Tony Walsh:  A letter from Tony
to the NEOPal list Jan 29, 2005
As the Irish fella said when he found a bar fight in progress,  "Is this a family fight or can anyone join in?."

I relished the letter from Randy Rollison and the several responses, especially from Larry Neering.

The problem of drunks and other users in the theater is not all pervasive or constant. However, it is there often enough to piss off a lot of people. While reading the letters, I  remember more and more the occasions when I saw people under the influence during rehearsal and performance. I would need several pages to set them all down.
It was either the wafting scent of the several too many cocktails consumed before a performance or it was complete incompetence because an actor is high or drunk.

I can sense very easily when a fellow performer is drunk because  I am usually standing two feet away. Similarly, just as audience members can detect dishonest performance, phony emotion and non-existent tears, they can damn sure detect drunkenness. As actors, that is our sin and own deepest shame. It just corrodes the soul to see that sort of thing in the sacred space that is the theater. 

Lest I wallow unduly in sanctimony, I here confess that I have  sinned. On one occasion I freaked after a court hearing in Akron and missed a performance of "King Lear". On another day I  crewed a performance at Dobama while I was stiff as a crutch. My sense of shame over those transgressions is boundless and unrelenting. The sorrow runs much too deep ever to go away.

To be drunk on stage is to insult the Gods in whose honor the Greeks built theaters in the first place, so many many centuries ago. To see our art corrupted in any way shatters the joy and love and passion that we bring to this most sacred of the fine arts.

To Randy, to Larry, to Lissy, to Vaughn from the bottom of this Celtic heart my applause belongs to you.

That's enough grandiloquent blarney for now.

God bless us, everyone. No exceptions.

Most sincerely,

TONY WALSH
Dangerous Actor
Loudmouthed Lawyer
and your obstinate servant

 


Michael Paller

It's so hard to sum Tony up...but for all his faults, he was one of the most generous and loyal and devoted people I've ever known.


Tony with George Stamatis, Michael Paller
Ken Armour, Tom Fulton & Ralph Gunderman
Ahmic Lake, Canada - 1979


Tony lounging in Canada - 1980


Michael Paller and Tony at the Campground
near The Stratford Shakespeare Festival
1980



Donald N. Krosin

With connections to Tony in the theatre and the law I can say he was truly unique. We can best honor his memory by continuing his fight for justice and equality.



Cathy Albers


Mary,
My memories of Tony run like a video through my head......his warmth to me when he discovered we shared a Celtic background, even though mine is Welsh. He said he would overlook that! We were sitting in the green room of the Bolton Theater and Tony was, as usual, holding court.

He made me laugh, as he was so sincere in his forgiveness for my wrong-headed Celtic heritage! And then later I was scheduled to appear with him in LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT for Bodwin. I had to drop out because my back surgery was scheduled for the last week of rehearsal. But we worked together for three rehearsals before that and he was a dear. So solicitous of my pain, so caring about the work.

And then, of course, after seeing WIT he wept those beautiful tears and whispered beautiful words to me about my performance. His heart, which ultimately failed him, was full of love for all people. The eulogies at his service paid tribute to a man I was privileged to know and I thank God for that gift.

I will pray for you.


Paul Blumberg

I'll always remember Tony for his kindness. He got me out of jail twice, back in the days of the struggle against the war in Vietnam. He and Terry Gilbert were the attorneys who stood up for those with little or no money for lawyers fees. But my fondest memory is of Tony dressed as a giant bunny rabbit, holding my son Matthew's hand at the Dobama Kid's Playwriting Festival
.

Tony Walsh 1941-2005
Tony died suddenly on Sunday, March 13, 2005.  This page is for his friends and associates to post their remembrances of this gentle man and courageous actor. 
If you wish to have your memory or pictures of him posted here, email your comments or attachments to Tom Fulton


Tom Fulton

Tony Walsh was my close friend and associate for many years.  He was instrumental in helping to develop Center Repertory Theatre and The Phoenix Theatre Ensemble.  In remembering him as an actor, I think of three remarkable roles: 

Chebutykin in Chekhov's The Three Sisters, where his joyous love of the three girls, and his agonized cry of despair as the doctor who had killed his own patient was heart rending.

Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream.  His was a brave choice - toothless, hysterical, full of bombast and childlike awe. 

Kent in King Lear.  As Lear's loyal friend - steady as a rock - great booming voice added a powerful counterweight to Lear's flights of madness. 

Tony spent many peaceful summers with us at our cottage in Canada.  We all will miss you, Tony.


Scott Plate

I had the pleasure of understudying Tony Walsh in the production of King Lear Tom refers to in his dedication. It was one of my first acting responsibilities in Cleveland. I remember the big booming voice and rock-steady companionship as well, and also his soulful eyes, tender heart, and instant compassion for anything or anyone struggling or suffering in any way.

I remember his interest in people. I also remember his pots of hot black tea for opening night casts at Dobama Theatre, and his dire admonitions to those same casts of "take no prisoners and bayonet the wounded!" as he left their dressing rooms. Tony as he grew older became a finer version of what he always was, a talisman, a good luck charm made all the more potent by the fact that Tony hadn't always had the best luck in his life. He would certainly count his marriage to his beloved Mary as his greatest piece of good fortune, and I remember them together, one helping the other.

I remember his glistening wet eyes backstage when he would offer his heartfelt congratulations and thanks to an actor or actress who he thought had given a fine performance.

I remember his sadness, his humor, his stories, his eloquence, his knowledge, his passion to help people he thought got a bum deal, his sense of justice, but most of all, his heart. Mine is in my throat this morning.


Lon Withers

I'm probably the only man to have played a love scene with Tony (in Midsummers' play within a play). He was a large spirit and a  generous soul and a great presence onstage. I'll never forget the evenings spent at his house and my memories of Phoenix Theatre Ensemble will be sadder with his passing.


Evie Morris

I met Tony in 1978 at Kent State University, when students erected a "Tent City" to protest the building of a gymnasium on the site of the May 4th shootings. Tony had joined with other lawyers to do everything they could do legally to preserve what many believe is a historical site in our political history.

Whenever I saw Tony, he consistently shared his quick wit and continuing passion for fighting injustice and mediocrity. His sudden and unexpected departure leaves me saddened and reminds me, once again, that every day is a gift I need to spend as wisely as I can.

The words to "Carry It On" by Joan Baez are resounding in my heart this morning as we mourn the loss of another brave soul who consistently challenged the status quo.

Chorus: There's a man by my side walking,
There's a voice within me talking,
There's a word that needs a'sayin,
Carry it on, carry it on.

They will tell their empty stories,
Send their dogs to bite our bodies,
They will lock us in their prisons,
Carry it on, carry it on.

If you can't go on much longer,
Take the hand held by your brother,
Every victory will bring another,
Carry it on, Carry it on.


I choose to believe that Tony's spirit will touch many lives at this time of his passing.The shared stores, memories and good deeds of his life will enable us to know more about who he was and how he chose to share his time and talents.

My sincere condolences to Mary and his family members,


Martin Friedman

Tony Walsh. I remember Tony as a person who immediately accepted me into the fraternity of theatre-artists in 1986. As a new (but not so young) fellow coming from graduate school, Cleveland could be a forbidding place, especially as a new director. Tony asked me out for a drink and began regailing me with stories of his past and immediate future. Who would not, who could not be beguiled?

I too shall miss him.


Doug Rossi
Oh my God.

Not my ol' pal Tony?It always seemed like if anyone could live forever, it'd be him. So full of gusto, spirit, warmth and energy. I was just watching a tape of us in a show together two days ago.

I am stunned and greatly saddened by the loss of my most frequent acting partner.


My heart goes out to our dearest Mary and the rest of his family and his thousands of friends theatrical and otherwise.


Cindi Verbelun

I remember first seeing Tony onstage in "A Lie of the Mind". What a force of nature he was in that show! I also had the fortune of working with both Tony and Mary backstage at Dobama on a number of productions, most notably "A Tale of the Allergist's Wife". Dobama will not be the same without Tony. I will miss the scent of his tea wafting through the office, and the wonderful advice he gave whenever asked. I will miss Tony a lot. I'm sure we all will.

Chris Fortunato

Despite my acting background, I only saw Tony in court. I was introduced to him by Judge Ralph McAllister and some of the defense bar when I was a younger lawyer. At the time, he had played Senator Karl Mundt, a conservative Republican from North Dakota who was a partisan of Joseph McCarthy, but pulled back on him (as did most of the Senate) when Tail Gunner Joe imploded.

From that time, I always called him Senator. Around that time, Tony briefly served as a magistrate in the Cleveland Housing Court under former Judge Bill Corrigan, a tireless advocate for tenants. Tony would wear round black rimmed glasses ala Winston Churchill and with his usual tweed and rumpled look resembled something out of Dickens. Bleak House would have suited him.

Tony developed a ferocious reputation after his defense of Kent State students back in 1970 and his reputation increased. Sometimes a reputation like that can be fun because some prosecutors will turn tide, some will steel their backs, but judges will always moan because they usually want to settle cases (and some simply want to be the stars (hams) in their courtrooms.) One of his last notable clients was a fireman accused of rape, stalking and burglary. Unfortunately, due to illness, Tony withdrew from representation.

Many of us defense lawyers used to sit in the Justice Center cafeteria and have coffee and discuss law and politics. With Tony there, it was always fun to hear about theatre, too. Tony's politics were lefter than most so it was fun to talk to him about his views. He held forth on persons who named names, Richard Nixon, and the encroaching lack of personal liberties. Sometimes Mary would be over but she was usually in the Old Courthouse in a divorce matter.

One of Tony's last roles in the Justice Center was to serve jury duty. Until a few years ago, lawyers were exempt from service along with doctors, policeman, fireman, and cloistered nuns and priests. Now, everyone except the cloistered are eligible. I'm sure his service was an award winning performance.

Recquieset in pacem.


Tony Walsh in Peter Manos' play Colonel Chabert
- Courtesy of Kevin Cronin, Bodwin Theatre Company


Kevin Cronin
Thanks for the opportunity to add a few thoughts about Tony's death… His tremendous friendship. He was loyal and committed to others to such a degree that the gaps he leaves are numerous and everywhere. He was always available with advice and keen insight.

His love of theater and passion for government activism were two sides of the same coin: An effort to illustrate and make the world a bit more comprehensible. He took these responsibilities very seriously and was unwavering in his commitment. His respect for great literature was immense.

The love, tight bond and inter-dependency with Mary.
His talent, tremendous energy, sharp eyes and booming voice.

Tony appeared in numerous productions with Bodwin. Typical for Tony, the last was an original work by Peter Manos, as Tony was so committed to writers and developing new works. The play, Colonel Chabert, involved a French cavalry officer in the years of Napoleon. In the final scene, Tony (playing, oddly enough, a lawyer), is left alone on stage holding a box of cigars, and, drawing on a cigar, signs off with the line "Happy Wednesday", building off an earlier line in the play to indicate he was taking time off, a well-deserved rest, on an uncharacteristic day of the week.
Happy Wednesday, Tony.


Hester Lewellen

Tony Walsh--Definitely a force of nature. I've known Tony and Mary since I first moved to Cleveland in 1976. He was encouraging to fellow actors and an advocate for truth on stage. When you were watching from the audience, Tony was impossible to ignore, partly because of his presence, partly because of his own careful intelligent attention to the action on stage.

It just doesn't seem right or fair that Tony is gone. There was so much life in him --and wit and sympathy and passion. I wish we could bring him back for a curtain call and standing ovation.

Dear Mary--your names were so linked in my mind. I am so sorry you have had to lose your best friend after only 40 years. I know you will stay here with the theatre community that meant so much to you both. I know you will be the recipient of many hugs, but you can be sure that there are also hugs coming in from afar. I hope you can feel them all.


George Stamatis
Tony was a truly wonderful actor with whom I had the honor of sharing some stage time. We couldn't have done half the plays at the Phoenix Theatre Ensemble without him.

Now, some nights were better than others...so maybe his George Washington forgot that he was talking to Nathan and not Jason Hale in Fortune, or his Bottom had us Mechanicals skip from Act I to Act V one night in A Midsummer's Night's Dream, or maybe he was missing for a few minutes from Cyrano, or maybe we weren't quite sure how he would rule as the presiding judge in Whose Life Is It Anyway? in the end, it doesn't matter because Tony had the talent and personality that transcended the nuts and bolts of putting a play together. The rest of us may have known our lines, but Tony is the one who really made an impression on the audience.

And one of the great memories will always be his dog Maldoon kissing and licking his face (with the encouragement of a little cheese) at the end of the Mechanicals' play in A Midsummer's Night's Dream. That provided some of the best laughter I've ever had.

I also have to talk about trips to Canada with him, Michael, Tom and other friends. I remember one summer, I drove with him and Wendy to Canada through the night and we were supposed to share the driving. I think both of them fell asleep soon after we left and they woke up the next morning!

And, I'll never forget fishing with Tom, Michael, Ralph, Ken, and Tony (see the picture of that motley crew to the left). Tony cast the line, then we heard Michael shout, "Hey! Hey! Wait! .....<sound of casting line> .....That's my hat in the water!"

Tony, you and Mary always had your house open to friends, and your hearts.

Tony, we had great times with you and we will miss you.


Paul Floriano

Mary;
When I heard of Tony's passing, I just remember thinking of his heart. A big, round, cuddly, compassionate, truly compassionate organ, capable of great, great feelings and emotions. I remember his booming voice. His love of storytelling, a lost art and one which is a little bit more lost with his passing. I was acting at Dobama in a bunch of one acts, called, "Death Defying Acts". I would have never pegged him as a lawyer until he opened his mouth. Then, it was obvious. I remember thinking, "this guy's pretty liberal...". Think?

Mostly, I remember his love of his fellow man. He loved, truly loved, the downtrodden and the victimized. He did more than just love them. He was their voice, their soul, and their defender when everyone else would forget.

Anthony, you will be truly, truly missed. My heart is broken, though I did not know you all that well...but I couldn't help but adore you...

Walter Mantani - 9-14-2007
Looking for something else entirely I was stunned and saddened to find this page of rembrance for Tony. As resident Sound Designer and occasional T.D. at Dobama during the nineties, I worked alongside Tony and Mary on many a production -- always marvelling at their dedication and commitment to the nonsense at which we work so hard in this business.

With glimpses here and there I gradually came to know only a precious little of who Tony was before we met. But I was very fond of him and looked for the rascally twinkle he kept buried under years of professionalism.

I still occasionally listen to the radio promo he recorded for me for one of Dobama's productions; a mouthful of purposeful gibberish spoken with a dignity and seriousness worthy of the Bill of Rights. And I know he was just as committed to both.

I shall miss him greatly.