Monday, December 14, 2009

RIP Stocker Fontelieu

Stocker Fontelieu, local theater legend dead at 86.

by Dominic Massa / Eyewitness News

December 14, 2009 at 1:37 PM

Stocker Fontelieu, the New Orleans theater legend whose 60-year career included a stint as executive director of Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre and directing and acting roles at numerous local theatres, died Monday. He was 86.

Mr. Fontelieu’s health had been failing in recent months, after suffering a fall. He was receiving care at Covenant Nursing Home, where he died.

A New Orleans native who attended New Orleans Academy and Tulane University, Mr. Fontelieu was best known for his 24-year career as executive director of Le Petit, which spanned from the 1960s through the 1980s.

Fontelieu told former Times-Picayune theater writer David Cuthbert (now a reviewer for WYES-TV' "Steppin' Out") that one of his most memorable nights as Le Petit’s manager was the 1977 visit playwright Tennessee Williams paid to a rehearsal of his "A Streetcar Named Desire" at the theater.

"The stage manager whispered to me, ‘Look over your shoulder,’ and there was Tennessee with a few friends," Fontelieu said in a 2003 interview. "‘Just keep the play going,’ he said. ‘Do your job.’

A frequent commercial and movie actor, Mr. Fontelieu’s face and voice were familiar to New Orleanians from TV and film roles as an actor and announcer, even if his name was not. But it is his direction behind the scenes for which friends and colleagues remember him most fondly.

By the time he retired in 2006, Mr. Fontelieu had appeared in nearly 150 plays and directed 340 productions, at various local theatres, including Gallery Circle Theatre (where he served as executive director), Bayou Dinner Theater and Rivertown Repertory Theater.

His career was profiled in a 2007 authorized biography by local actor/playwright and theater historian Michael Cahill, with the clever title, "Just Who is Stocker Fontelieu Anyway?"

Funeral arrangements are incomplete.

Born: 5/5/1927, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A.
Died: 12/14/2009, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A.

Stocker Fontelieu's westerns - actor:
My Name is Nobody - 1973 (longshoreman)
Lousiana (TV) - 1984 (auctioneer)

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