The Man Who Laughed

More remembrances of Boyd Vance

Lana Dieterich


This is the way I remember Boyd: Looking at me with that famous sidelong glance, saying "Mmmm-hmmmmmm!" and then following up that comment with his gleeful cackle. Boyd was in the first play I ever did at the Zachary Scott Theatre Center. It was in 1982, and the show was Lorraine Hansberry's The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window. I remember him thanking me for giving him valuable make-up tips. And Boyd was the one who told Doug Dyer to call me for the first public reading of Dyer's (stage adaptation of the Edward Swift novel) Splendora. Later, Boyd and I were in Joe Sears' production of Splendora at the State Theater. Playing the preacher's wife, on the last day of the show, Boyd soberly ate the anatomically correct cookies during the Epistolarian Society scene. The twinkle in his eye let us know that he was in on the joke. During his Project InterAct years with Zach, Boyd enraptured AISD children, not the least of whom was my daughter Cassie, who, whenever he played at Lee Elementary, beamed with delight when he singled her out from her classmates with a special acknowledgment. Down through the years, our paths continued to cross, but it was those early times that I never forgot and know I never will. Good-bye, Boyd. You were much loved and will be sadly missed.


Lowell Bartholomee

Actor, playwright, director, co-artistic director of the dirigo group

Boyd was one of the first theatre entities I met when I moved here to Austin. I did a show with Second Youth Family Theatre and within one week I saw Boyd in Shear Madness, watched him perform in his oldies cover group at Top of the Marc, and met him over drinks at the Texas Chili Parlor. He was this kind of force of nature that at the time left me excited about what was going on in this city and wondering if it was possible to attain the kind of sheer personal force of personality that Boyd had and engaged his world with. Mostly I knew Boyd through his work and his impact on people around me. I wish I had known him better, but when people you love deeply love someone else deeply, that feeling has no choice but to transfer. I wish I had more personal recollections. I really experienced Boyd in the way that most Austinites experienced him: through his radiant personality and by the fruits of his labor. It wasn't enough, but it was really wonderful and will be hard to replicate.

C. Denby Swanson

Playwright, artistic director of Austin Script Works

Boyd's energy was seemingly boundless. We had been talking about ways that Pro Arts Collective and ASW could work together to support and encourage playwrights. He was on the selection committee this year for ASW's 10-minute play festival, and he was going to be a panelist for the Literary Managers & Dramaturgs of the Americas conference in June. If the phone rang at 7am, it was inevitably Boyd, already on the business of the day. end story

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