Richard Collier, a veteran of Denver theatre in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, passed away this month, March 2021 according to his son.
A director and actor, Richard was involved in over 100 theatre productions during his career. Some of his credits include: “The Fantasticks,” “Marat Sade,” “Twelfth Night,” “Death of a Salesman,” “Endgame,” and “That Championship Season.”
Collier, who was also a fine arts painter, received his theatre training at Boston University and several acting schools in New York City. In the early 1960s, Collier co-founded and directed a resident theater company called the Trident Theatre in Denver with his wife Verna Frances Bloom (who became a notable Hollywood film and TV actress in the late 1960s and ’70s). Richard also produced and directed for the Colorado Council on the Arts and Humanities including a touring production of Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” in 1967 (which included a performance of the show for inmates at the Colorado Penitentiary) and Truman Capote’s “The Grass Harp” in 1976 for the Council’s Colorado Chautauqua summer tour. In 1978, Collier directed his original take on a production of “Equus” at the Slightly Off Center Theater on 15th Street in North Denver (located in the same building as the famous “Muddy’s Coffeehouse” or “Muddy’s of the Platte” – which was seen as a place that housed the underground arts scene with arts, coffee and conversation).
In 1988 Richard performed in The Rocky Mountain Theatre Guild’s production of Vonnegut’s “Happy Birthday, Wanda June” at the Little Theatre on the University of Denver campus and he took on the role of Davis, Juror #8 (made famous by Henry Fonda) in their production of “12 Angry Men.”
An excerpt from his son’s tribute says, “God Bless you dad and I hope you are painting your masterpiece and walking to the peaks of many mountains.“
Seen here on Colorado Chautauqua in 1976 with actors Mary Jane Weed (yes, her real name), Cheryl Harvey, and the great Denver actor Jack Casperson in Truman Capote’s “The Grass Harp” which Richard directed.