Keith Franklin Fowler

Keith Franklin Fowler

February 23, 1939 - December 30, 2023

Keith Franklin Fowler

February 23, 1939 - December 30, 2023


Keith Franklin Fowler, actor, director, producer, and educator, died on December 30, 2023. Born on February 23, 1939, in San Francisco to Jack Franklin and Jacklyn Hocking Montgomery Fowler. Keith’s early exposure to theater led to a career that spanned decades. Known for his quick wit and sharp mind, Keith acted, directed, and taught with fervor, and was beloved by many students, his family, and his friends.

Keith’s professional journey began in the early 1950s, performing children’s roles in San Francisco’s “little theaters.” He achieved his first professional acting gig with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 1958 and 1960. A Fulbright Grant in 1960-61 took him to the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon, where he directed his first play.

In 1964, Keith began his academic career as an Assistant Professor of Drama at Williams College, and later earned a doctorate at the Yale School of Drama. In 1969, became the artistic director of the Theater Division of the Virginia Museum (VMT) and for over eight years he steered it into becoming Richmond’s first resident Actors Equity company.

After an iterum year teaching at Yale, Keith returned to Virginia and founded the American Revels Company, contributing significantly to Richmond’s cultural landscape. After the closure of Revels, he returned to teaching, making an impact at the University of California, Irvine. There, he was active in many events and programs, and notably served as the original director of ArtsBridge America.

More recently, since retiring From UCI as a professor emeritus of drama, he has been living in faculty housing with Janice, his wife of 28 years, and their dogs. He has received many visitors in that time, and has been delighted with them all.

Surviving Keith are his wife Janice Byrd Fowler, his son Jeremy Fowler-Lindemulder and his wife Karen, his son Matthew Fowler, and his children Ash, Gretel, and Chloe. He is also survived by his stepson Ed Glaser and wife Meagan, Nephew Jason Selli, Niece Kendra Crame, and Niece Jacqueline Fowler-Miller, along with their respective families. Additionally, Keith has a surviving older half-brother, Gordon Pape, whom he only recently discovered through genetic testing.

Keith is preceded in death by his parents, his younger brother Russ, and his younger sister Pam. He was caring, wise, and never lost his passion for both teaching and learning. His passing leaves a void, and he will be remembered fondly by family, friends, and colleagues. May he rest in peace.

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