Friday, October 16, 2009

Collin Wilcox Paxton 4 February 1935 - 13 October 2009

Collin Wilcox Paxton, stage, film, and television actress died on October 13 at her home in Highlands, North Carolina. She was 74.

Best remembered for her role in the film adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird as Mayella Violet Ewell, she also had a long and successful Broadway career. (Her IMDB page here) I know her as the founder of a number of non-profit arts organizations such as The Studio for the Arts and The Highlands Cashiers Players in Highlands, NC. The Studio for the Arts occupied a former forest service garage downtown and students from Highlands School would be bussed to 'The Studio' for classes in visual arts, acting, and dance.

My earliest recollection of a class at The Studio would have to be about second or third grade, when I was guided through the drafting of a black and white bunny in pastel. The instructor was Elsa Sibley, a tall and wiry artist and horse enthusiast (and dead ringer for Patti Smith) and I remember very clearly Sibley introducing the class to the work of Toulouse-Lautrec.

I last saw Collin in June when she hosted a cocktail party following the launch of my log cabin book. She gave me a copy of, "Boyhood Photos of J.-H. Lartigue" (Ami Guichard, Pub., 1966) that had been given to her by Tony Walton, Tony award winning scene designer and former spouse to Julie Andrews. As a remembrance, I will look forward to passing the book along to someone interesting in 2045! Of the kindest, most generous, and interesting folks I have ever known. She will be sorely missed.

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