Ron Vawter was the quintessential downtown performer and a founding member of The Wooster Group, an internationally known theater collective based in NYC. He brought to the world of the avant-garde a unique combination of life experiences, including training as a Green Beret in the US Special Forces and his work as a chaplain. In the words of the Village Voice, “Vawter’s resolution of the tensions between theatrical passion and military precision....have not only helped make the Wooster Group a controversial and intellectually assaultive ensemble but Vawter himself a legendary and explosively controlled actor.” In 1992, Vawter, who also appeared in films like Swoon, Philadelphia, Silence of the Lambs, and sex, lies, and videotape, first performed in Roy Cohn/Jack Smith, a one man show written by Gary Indiana and Jack Smith in which Vawter explored themes of sexual identity through these two very different men, both of whom had died of AIDS. He received an OBIE for his performance, the last of which took place at The Kitchen, in 1993. Vawter died in 1994 on a plane from Zurich to New York, of an AIDS-related heart attack, at the age of 45.

photo courtesy of Bill Horrigan
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