Richard B. Weaver, one of Broadway’s leading press agents and ATPAM’s Secretary-Treasurer for 19 years, passed away May 17, 1998 after a long illness. He was 88 years old.
Spanning a fifty-year career in legit, Weaver worked during what many consider to be the golden age of theatre. He served as press agent for the Theatre Guild on such classics as the original PORGY, THE GREEN BAY TREE which introduced Sir Laurence Olivier to the American stage, the Rodgers & Hammerstein hits OKLAHOMA! and CAROUSEL and Comden and Green’s BELLS ARE RINGING with Judy Holiday.
Weaver also served as General Manager for Jed Harris’ production of OUR TOWN by Thorton Wilder and worked for many years with David Merrick on such productions as FANNY starring Ezio Pinza, Walter Slezak and Florence Henderson. Weaver was long associated with producer Kermit Bloomgarden, working as press agent for such shows as THE WALL with George C. Scott, THE MUSIC MAN with Robert Preston and THE GAY LIFE with Barbara Cook. His film credits include Olivier’s HAMLET, BEN HUR with Charlton Heston, and SPARTACUS starring Kirk Douglas.
In later years, Weaver became known for his union leadership. In 1968, Weave accepted the position of Secretary-Treasurer on a “temporary basis” that lasted nineteen years. Under his guidance, Weaver helped shepherd ATPAM into a powerful Broadway force that helped grow the union’s funds to become the envy of other theatrical unions. With an encyclopedic knowledge of theatre and unionism, Weaver was a fierce negotiator whose sharp wit and tongue earned him the rep “Lion of Broadway.”
To commemorate Weaver’s dedication and service to ATPAM, the good and welfare fund has been renamed the Richard Weaver Good and Welfare Fund.
A long-time Board member of the American Theatre Wing, Weaver served as the Wing’s treasurer for over 20 years. He was also a trusted advisor to Theatre Wing President Isabelle Stevenson and was instrumental in the creation of a number of programs including “Introduction to Broadway,” which provided access to Broadway shows for tens of thousands of high school students.
Weaver is survived by his wife Mildred, sons Christopher and Jed and grandson Isaac. He also has a daughter, Gerda Reynolds, from a prior marriage.
Donations in his memory can be made to: Wilmer Eye Institute Glaucoma Center, John Hopkins Hospital, 600 North Wolfe Street, Wilmer 112 Baltimore, MD 21287-9015. Attention Liz Flanagan.