Chicago Comedy and Theater Great Sheldon Patinkin Dies at 79

sheldon_patinkinThe Chicago theater and comedy community lost a big name yesterday with the news that Sheldon Patinkin, who mentored countless performers and directors and was an icon of the Second City community, died at age 79. Patinkin worked as the chair of Columbia College Chicago’s theater department and as an artistic consultant at both Second City and Steppenwolf Theatre. He is regarded as a beloved mentor, teacher, and pioneer of the city’s improvisational community for over 50 years and also chronicled the history of Second City in the 2000 book Second City: Backstage at the World’s Greatest Comedy Theater. Here’s an official statement from Second City CEO and Executive Producer Andrew Alexander:

“We are heartbroken to learn of the sudden death of Sheldon Patinkin. Beginning as a bar manager at The Second City in 1959, Sheldon became our artistic conscience as director and artistic consultant. He has worked with Second City casts and directors for the past 55 years; most recently giving notes and consulting on The Second City e.t.c.’s Apes of Wrath. His work expanded beyond The Second City and he became a prolific director and educator. He was a beloved mentor to thousands. His legacy is exponential and we are so proud to have also called him a friend.”

Click through to read just some of Patinkin’s many students and admirers’ remembrances on Twitter:

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