Del Close (1934-1999) is considered one of the premier influences on modern improvisational theater. An actor, improviser, writer, and teacher, Close had a prolific career, appearing in a number of films and television shows. He was a co-author of the book Truth in Comedy along with his partner Charna Halpern. The book outlines techniques now common to long-form improvisational theater and describes the overall structure of “Harold” which remains a common frame for longer improvisational scenes. His favorite framework for comedic storytelling was the structures of Wagner’s Ring Cycle.
Legend has it that Close’s last words were: “I’m tired of being the funniest person in the room.”
Before passing away, Close requested that his skull be donated to the Goodman Theatre for use in Hamlet productions, on the condition that he should receive credit in the program as Yorick.
“What we do is too enchanting to be quantified.” – Del Close