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Doh! Del Close

On: Sunday, May 22, 2011

How many time have we seen this guy! On the Basic Hip Digital Oddio blog, and of course the "How to Speak Hip" and "The Nervous Set" albums.
I finally connected his young face with his older, more familiar face.


Del Close (March 9, 1934 – March 4, 1999) is considered one of the premier influences on modern improvisational theater. An actor, improviser, writer, and teacher, Close had a prolific career, appearing in a number of films and television shows. He was a co-author of the book Truth in Comedy along with partner Charna Halpern, which outlines techniques now common to longform improvisational theater and describes the overall structure of “Harold” which remains a common frame for longer improvisational scenes.
    At the age of 23, he became a member of the Compass Players in St. Louis which later became The Second City in Chicago.
    Close spent the early 1980s in New York, as "House Metaphysician" at Saturday Night Live, coaching the cast in the wake of producer Lorne Michaels' departure.   At any given time, roughly a quarter of Saturday Night Live’s cast has been composed of his former trainees.  He spent the mid-to-late 1980s and 1990s teaching improv, collaborating with Charna Halpern in Yes And Productions and Improv Olympic.
    During this period, Close acted in several movies, including portraying a corrupt alderman in The Untouchables and an English teacher in Ferris Bueller's Day Off.  Finally, Charna Halpern invited him to join her at the ImprovOlympic Theater, which she had founded and briefly run with Compass Players producer David Shepherd.
    "It is easy to become deluded by the audience, because they laugh. Don't let them make you  buy the lie that what you're doing is for the laughter. Is what we're doing comedy? Probably not. Is it funny? Probably yes. Where do the really best laughs come from? Terrific connections made intellectually, or terrific revelations made emotionally." -Del Close  (Truth in Comedy)
   "What we do is too enchanting to be quantified"  - Del Close  Source: The Improv Trick
You've seen him in:

Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)
as English Teacher
The Untouchables (1987)
as Corrupt Alderman
American Graffiti (1973)
as Man at Bar
The Blob (1988)
as Reverend Meeker 

1 comments on "Doh! Del Close"

Anonymous said...

Del Close's last birthday party:

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