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Geoffrey Reeves
  • 77 years old
  • Date of birth: Apr 21, 1939
  • Date of passing: Oct 17, 2016
From the cradle to the coffin underwear comes first. Bertolt Brecht.

Culturally highbrow, sartorially lowbrow. Kind, loving and dramatic with a huge intellect. Thoughtful with a laugh that travels through walls..we will miss him like mad.

He requested that his ashed be scattered in places he loved, and also those he didn't know, so he could continue travelling.
If you would like a little pot-in-the-post contact rose at rosereeves@gmail.com.   

'You cant say the word Geoffrey without adding, or thInking, BIG...the man himself, the laugh, the intellect , the opinions. The voice, the appetites..they were O'wellian.(0rson, not George) And if he loved you he wanted you to share them." Tim Corrie.

This is a place for anyone who knew Geoffrey to share, photos, memories, even songs.

Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by Lucy Reeves on 1st December 2016

"What a splendid long-term comrade and companion was Geoffrey!  I could trust and entrust every aspect of our work to him – he would put all his hard-earned skills and experience at the service of the daily needs of each group of actors, each new project.  He had great authority and never tried to take anything for himself.  My deep and loving gratitude to his memory and fond loving thoughts to his family.  

Peter Brook"

This tribute was added by L M on 10th November 2016

"The death of a loved one can be very painful and weight heavily on our hearts. I wish to send my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Geoffrey Reeves.while You grieved ,continue to take comfort in gods promises at (Matt 4:5) which says " happy are those who mourn,since they will be comforted " and ( 2Cor 1:3,4) which says " Praise be the God of all comfort..who comforts us in all our trials so that we may be able to comfort others in any sort of trials with the comfort that they receive from god."May you all continue to hold the precious memories of your dearly beloved Geoffrey close to your hearts."

This tribute was added by Tom Lindblade on 7th November 2016

"Here's to my great friend and invaluable mentor Geoffrey. I will miss you immensely and palpably. The laugh, the camaraderie, the presence. You encouraged me to be creatively rigorous, and showed how to live life more fully. In Palo Alto, and Atlanta, and Colorado, and Chorleywood. And in exuberance and love, always. I will never forget you."

This tribute was added by Barny Stoppard on 5th November 2016

"My Mum and Dad knew Geoff and Rose back in the early days and my Mum was really happy to have re-connected with them in her last years. Their friendship meant a lot to her."

This tribute was added by Boris Stout on 4th November 2016

"I am sorry not to have seen Geoffrey for a couple of decades - we met during the years I was at the NFTS. I considered him both my tutor and my friend and I valued his opinions. And though I rarely recall agreeing with him - his passion, warmth and intelligence were an inspiration, which to me is one of the most profound currencies of education (and friendship). Thanks Geoffrey, I shall miss you."

This tribute was added by Larry Maslon on 4th November 2016

"It’s nearly impossible to think of Geoffrey in the past tense; he was imbued with what Shaw called the “Life Force”—which isn’t about being lively, but rather about making the most out of life and leaving a robust, positive, inspiring legacy behind.  That he certainly did.

Most folks who knew Geoff as a teacher will no doubt recount meeting him for the first time as a large, intimidating presence who was immune to flattery, obsequiousness, or incompetence.  Certainly for me, in the fall of 1983, when I first was introduced to him as my directing teacher, in the arid, eucalyptus-perfumed fields of Stanford California, I was in a state of shock and awe.  I had mentioned how, the previous summer, I had seen a brilliant actress in a Noel Coward play on the West End, Maria Aitken.  “What, Maria?,” he name-dropped…probably the first time I had heard anyone call anyone famous by their first name.  An expert card-player, Geoff trumped me.

But, I quickly fell under his spell and became his willing (and uncritical) disciple.  Perhaps because I learned early on how much he liked to laugh, I dispensed an unending stream of Jewish jokes, formed in the crucible of my New York background.  Geoff quickly assembled a coterie of loyalists around him—Fritz, Rush, Tom—that would do his bidding at a moment’s notice; I suppose I functioned as court jester:  “But, seriously, folks. . . .”  He guided me through two very difficult years at Stanford, always in my corner in his own idiosyncratic way.  For years, he mercilessly mocked an essay I had written for my Shakespeare analysis class, but asked me to write or adapt more than a dozen projects for him.  There were times when Geoff asked me to take over rehearsals so he could go to the opera or a concert instead; I may have resented it then--or been just plain scared--but looking back, I revere those opportunities.

After Stanford, the distance between us—New York and San Francisco, New York and Atlanta, New York and Chorleywood—served more as a promise than as an obstacle.  I used to quote Bottom from Midsummer Night’s Dream to him all the time:  “When my cue comes, call me and I will answer.”  We worked together whenever possible on an insane stream of projects—usually Brecht, but always with a topical, anarchic, hilarious sensibility.  Once, in Atlanta, he brought over a Danish actor to play Christopher Columbus in a Dario Fo political farce.  The actor and I clashed on every conceivable front; Geoff, in his typically conflict-averse stance, ran in the opposite direction every time.  But, when I wrote a scene in which Columbus gets shot at by angry natives with rubber-tipped arrows, Geoff ordered the props department to buy as many arrows as they could find.  “HIT him!  HIT him!” he yelled at the actors with uncharacteristic enthusiasm.

As time went on, our visits were more personal than professional.  I’ll always cherish the visits to Playtime.  Geoff and Rose and Lucy and Sophie made me part of their deeply affectionate and supportive family.  I have one memory of Geoff making me watch a film noir with Robert Mitchum on the telly after I had been up all night on a transatlantic flight.  Another memory is of celebrating my one and only Boxing Day, where I was so drunk, I deleted all my memories during the month of December.  And to this day, I can’t pass a Duty Free Shop in an airport with thinking, “I must get Rose her cigarettes and Geoffrey his bourbon.”

Nothing made me happier than being able, as I made my way in the profession and in life, to repay Geoffrey for his many kindnesses.  He was the best possible person to take to the theater.  Once, after he had been sacked from a directing job in New York, he pleaded with me to take him along to see a stage production of an old Marx Brothers musical in Washington, DC:  the perfect antidote to a never-to-be-expressed injury.  He laughed harder than anyone in the theater.  When I brought him to see a not-very-good musical on Broadway, written by his revered Stephen Sondheim, he got up at the curtain call and yelled “Rubbish!!” at the actors.  He was right about that.

Geoff was a role model in the best sense; he showed us what one could aspire to be, as an artist, as a family man, as a citizen.   Being human, he was, of course, full of contradictions.  He had personal and political convictions that outweighed his professional ambitions.  He was full of sentiment, but never sentimental.  He was deeply generous but often chose to wield his stiletto-like wit on less nimble personalities (which would include most of us).  Still, he showed his colleagues that it was possible to use art to make the world a better place; that it was possible to revel in the finer things in life, which have nothing to do with the brass ring of approbation; that it was possible, to paraphrase Shakespeare, to turn the accomplishment of many years into a wine glass.

I saw much less of Geoff and his family than I would liked in the 21st Century.  I was able to dedicate a book about Billy Wilder to him.  One of the last things he said to me, about a radio program on Broadway music I’ve hosted for five years, was “you were born for it.”  My only regret is that he never met my wife, Genevieve, or my son, Miles.  They would have all enjoyed each other.

I like to think of the two of us, at the conclusion of a black-and-white Hollywood film from the forties, walking away from the camera as it pulls back:  Orson Welles and Woody Allen, improbably thrown together by fate, “the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”  The music swells.  “The End”?  Not bloody likely.

--Larry"

This tribute was added by Wendy Tansey on 2nd November 2016

"Geoffrey arrived in Bristol in  [I think] 1961 and blew the place apart! He was like a force field and all of us who were lucky enough to meet him, work with him, feel the excitement of his ideas and his personality look back on that time with great happiness. In a patchwork of memories I have a clear picture of Geoffrey, having discovered [apparently!] that actors at the Comedie Francaise were required to be capable of reciting 10 alexandrines on one breath, having us all marching round the room trying to perform likewise. At least I had one line from Phedre in my head after that and I can't see the word 'jardinier' without hearing Geoffrey's stentorian tones as he directed Tim as the 'JAARDINYAYY">
At some point he played an old lady in 'Andorra' - somewhere between Mrs Brown and Widow Twankey in a pink nylon nightie and bath cap and clutching a china chamberpot!
Then years and years later we had the joy of catching up again when he taught Sarah at LAMDA and we watched his brilliant production of Dostoievsky's 'The Devils.'
Everything about Geoffrey was big - he never did anything by halves,no
little loves, laughs or projects. He must leave a giant-sized hole in all your lives. With lots of love from Rock and Wendy"

This tribute was added by Lucy Reeves on 27th October 2016

"Peace and Love
In years it's been forever
As an influential figure from my youth ....yesterday

Sincerely

Ian McShane"

This tribute was added by Andrew Ordover on 26th October 2016

"How quickly everything that matters has already been said! All I can do is echo everyone else's sentiments. You were such a hugely important, wise, and inspirational presence in my life--actively and physically for such as a short time, when I worked with you at Emory (could it have really been so little time?)--but lingeringly forever. I am so glad that I got to spend some time with you and Rose at Playtime a few years ago--and so very sad that it was so little time, and that it came so late. We pretend that tomorrow is promised, and that there will always be time to see the people we love again, and finish the conversation that was interrupted.The last play we worked on together reminded us what  the truth was ("down in the hole, lingeringly..."). Thank you for all you taught me--about the theater, yes, but also about life and love and friendship. There is always so much more to learn."

This tribute was added by Martin Pitman on 19th October 2016

"To the man with probably the biggest laugh in the world thank you for making space for us in your life. You will be very very much missed. Up words will never be the same again."

This tribute was added by Sophie Hardy on 18th October 2016

"I will miss absolutely everything about you and thank your for everything you gave me - except my tree trunk legs which I may never forgive you for..."

This tribute was added by Liz Banks on 18th October 2016

"Thinking of you all during this special time. Take time to grieve and share memories of Geoff together and support each other. When you lose someone so close to you it is such a strange, otherworldly but beautiful and spiritual time. I remember the time after my mum's passing being unlike any other time in my life, full of poignant moments that made me feel so human and at peace with the world. Rest in peace Geoff and lots of love to all family and friends xxxx"

This tribute was added by Keelin Watson on 18th October 2016

"Magnificent, humorous, warm, loving, everything about you was larger than life. I loved our evenings at the Proms listening to Webern, Schoenberg and all the other concerts that no-one else wanted to go to with you. You introduced me to composers, performers and conductors that my life is richer for knowing. I also loved the frown that appeared on your face when you couldn't believe my opinion was so wrong! I will miss watching the cricket or rugby with you and the occasional trip to Lords. Most of all I will miss your laugh and your zest for life. The road will feel empty for your absence."

This tribute was added by Chris Konrath on 18th October 2016

"Farewell, you beautiful, intellectual and inspirational bugger, you.

In my childhood you were a constant, warm smile.

In my formative teenage years you were always available to advise and guide, but would also berate and chasten when necessary, for which I am eternally thankful.

In later life you have been an example of to how to live it properly - with love, kindness, family and friendship. And a belly full of laughs.

Your laugh. I will miss it so, a laugh that filled an auditorium and was infectious and carried with it hope and humility.

I salute you, Geoff.

You will be missed terribly.

Rest in peace, you wonderful, humble man."

This tribute was added by Khalid Khan on 18th October 2016

"We will miss your huge laugh, your huge sneeze and the huge person that you were. You absolute star!!!"

This tribute was added by Lucy Reeves on 18th October 2016

"Monday 17th October at 2.40am my beautiful, thoughtful, shy and culturally pompous father died. He was surrounded by family and friends, he went peacefully, with dignity and his final words were 'I love you too'. You could not have written it more beautifully. Five weeks ago he announced he would be leaving soon and invited everyone to say goodbye. He directed it perfectly which means you have to smile. Over that time being anywhere else but in the same house with him was impossible, then the same room, as his world shrunk to who mattered most. To me it is a testament to his friendships spanning decades when they wanted to be woken in the middle of the night to be there at his last breath. We had a cuppa around his bed and laughed with tears. Not realising he needed underwear when we dressed him, we grabbed the nearest pair of pants, which were cycling shorts, anyone who knows him will know how funny that is. He went knowing he was deeply loved and the hole he will leave seems unmeasurable, but that love will get us through."


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This memorial is administered by:

Lucy Reeves

Kindly sponsored by:
Sophie Hardy

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