Tag Archives: Jim Caputo

A wake for Jimmy Caputo tonight

THE MORNING AFTER — It’s a rare and wonderful thing to be in a room filled with love the way that Lincoln Performance Hall was last night for the celebration of Jim Caputo’s life. The hall was filled to overflowing, which must have meant about 700 people were on hand for a night of music, videos (including Caputo’s infamous and oft-repeated dance steps, and his belly-rolling routine that eventually made it onstage in “The Full Monty”), ¬†reminiscences and food. It was a bringing-together of a very broad clan, and Jim was the thread that united the pieces. It’s hard to say who’s more blessed: the man or woman who gives such a gift to a community, or the community that gratefully accepts the gift. Time after time, someone turned to someone else in the crowd and said, “Jimmy woulda loved this.” So he would have. It’s obvious that in the memories and lives of many people he’ll live on for a very long time.

By Bob Hicks

At last night’s loud and rousing celebration of the past season’s Portland theater, the Drammy Awards, Greg Tamblyn took time out from his outstanding-director acceptance speech to remind the crowd that it was a few people short this year, and especially, to his mind, it was missing Jim Caputo, the big-spirited actor who died at age 50 last month.

Jim Caputo in "The Gohosts of Treasure Island" at Oregon Children's Theare. Leah Nash/Special to The OregonianTamblyn and Caputo had been especially close — Greg directed Jimmy in more shows than you could count on the fingers of both of your hands — but Jim was in general one of the best-liked people on the city’s theater scene, a local boy who stuck around, learned well from the likes of the late great Peter Fornara, and became in turn a veteran hand always happy to help the next generation. In fact, he spent a lot of time doing shows with young actors at Oregon Children’s Theatre and elsewhere.

Tamblyn reminded the crowd that there’ll be a celebration of Caputo’s life tonight, Tuesday, at Lincoln Performance Hall on the Portland State University campus. The gathering begins at 6 p.m., and the memorial a half-hour later. Caputo’s widow, Karen Voss, gives this advice: “Please no somber dress — let’s fill the room with the bright colors of his light and laughter.”¬Ě

The Drammy Committee, among its many other services, published a memoriam list in last night’s program of theater people who have died in the past year. Besides Caputo, they include:

  • Janet Bradley, the longtime and much-loved leader of Tears of Joy Theatre
  • Jack Wellington Cantwell, a true gentleman, a Portlander, and a veteran of many seasons at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival
  • Roger Cole
  • Judi Dreier
  • Bob Ellenstein
  • Bruce Fraser
  • Lannie Hurst, a genuine old-time leading lady
  • Dale Long
  • Kenneth Mars, the Hollywood star (The Producers, Young Frankenstein) who appeared onstage here with his daughter, Susannah Mars
  • Katie Myers and Michael Myers, effusive and good-hearted mainstays of Portland TheatreSports, who were swept out to sea by waves on the south jetty at Yaquina Bay
  • Bill Patton, the gentlemanly and supremely competent former executive director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, who began there when it was a little community summer theater and helped shape it into an internationally renowned company
  • James Peppers
  • Bob Rindt
  • Billy Rose

Each one of these people was extremely important in the lives of a lot of other people, from families to coworkers to audiences. Take a moment to remember them and the many roles they played.

And we’ll see you tonight to reminisce about Jimmy.


Photo: Jim Caputo in “The Ghosts of Treasure Island” at Oregon Children’s Theatre. Leah Nash/Special to The Oregonian

Jim Caputo memorial gathering June 14

Marty Hughley writes in The Oregonian that friends and family of Jim Caputo, the veteran Portland actor who died May 12 of a heart attack, have set his memorial service for Tuesday, June 14. It’ll be at Lincoln Performance Hall on the campus of Portland State University.

That’ll be the evening after the Drammy Awards, Portland’s annual celebration of the year’s best theater work, and Jimmy will be deeply missed at that party. We’re guessing more than a few words will be said on his behalf from the stage. The Drammys are at 7 p.m. (drinks and socializing from 6) in the Crystal Ballroom.

Pretty much everybody liked Jimmy a lot, and that included crusty old theater critics: He was one of those people who exuded the vitality and spirit and joy of the theater scene. We wrote this post about him after he died.

The June 14 memorial will start at 6:30 p.m., gathering a half-hour earlier. As his widow, Karen Voss, posted on pdxbackstage: “Please no somber dress – let’s fill the room with the bright colors of his light and laughter.”

Marty also notes that the theater community has set up a fund to benefit Jim’s family. You can make donations to the James M. Caputo Fund at any Key Bank branch.

Jimmy Caputo: a good man goes down

By Bob Hicks

We return to town to some terrible news that many of you no doubt have heard already: Jimmy Caputo, one of Portland’s best-known and most beloved actors, died Thursday morning from a heart attack. The Oregonian’s Marty Hughley has the story on Oregon Live.

Jim Caputo in "The Ghosts of Treasure Island" at Oregon Children's Theatre. Leah Nash/Special to The Oregonian/2008Jim was a terrific character actor, a good musician, an assured comedian with dramatic chops who could move with ease from the likes of David Mamet’s American Buffalo (which he performed years ago with the late, great Peter Fornara) to small-scale musicals like Pump Boys and Dinettes to a lot of kids’ shows, including his memorable turn as Smee in Peter Pan.

More than that, he pumped a prodigious amount of life into Portland’s theater scene. He loved being part of the theater, and he loved to entertain. Everybody knew Jimmy, everybody liked him, most everybody had a story about him — often about some little act of generosity on his part. He was always smiling, often laughing, filled with the exuberance of life in general and life on and behind the stage in particular. The last time I saw him was when I hit a rehearsal for Marv Ross’s musical The Ghosts of Celilo. Jimmy was playing guitar in the band. He greeted me, as he often had before, with a bear hug: glad to see a friend, glad to be alive.

Jim was 50 when he died. He’s survived by his wife, Karen Voss, their sons, Ian and Lorenzo, and six brothers. Our condolences to all of them, and may they remember the many, many good times.


Photo: Jim Caputo in “The Ghosts of Treasure Island” at Oregon Children’s Theatre. Leah Nash/Special to The Oregonian/2008