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Home News Theater Obituaries: Sosa (46), Cullison (47) and Brown (88)
Obituaries: Sosa (46), Cullison (47) and Brown (88) Print E-mail
Written by Kerry Reid   
Friday, 17 September 2010 12:58

Three Chicago theatre people died this week, two before they even reached the age of 50.

Manuel “Manny” Sosa, a Chicago actor who had made the leap from storefront theatres to television and film work, died of a massive stroke on Thursday, September 9, shortly after leaving a taping at East Chicago’s media department. He was 46.

Sosa had been taping the introduction of a film about the bicentennial of Mexican Independence Day (September 16) and related festivities in East Chicago, according to a September 10 report by Olga Briseno in the Northwest Indiana Times.

Sosa’s many film credits included the role of Father Torres in Alfredo De Villa’s 2008 family comedy, Nothing Like the Holidays, set and filmed in Humboldt Park; a role in Bob Odenkirk’s Let’s Go to Prison; Scott Prestin’s heist film, 8 of Diamonds; and appearances on “ER” and “Prison Break.” He had reportedly been cast in a pilot for a new show starring Jennifer Beals of Flashdance and “The L Word” at the time of his passing.

Sosa also worked with Open Eye Productions, Backstage Theatre Company and Dog and Pony Theatre Company. East Chicago city spokesman Damien Rico, who, according to Briseno’s piece, had known Sosa since age 12, noted that Sosa had also been developing a youth writing program at the Carnegie Performing Arts Center in East Chicago. He was also scheduled to be a special guest at the 10th anniversary gala for the Minority Organ and Tissue Transplant Education Program.

Sosa leaves behind his partner, Sandra Azcona, and his mother, as well as many friends in the Chicago theatre and film community.

Baird Brown, a former member of the Jeff Committee, longtime theatre and arts advocate, and a former board member of Friends of the Parks, passed away on October 8 at age 88. He was a Chicago arts philanthropist for over 50 years, and served on the board of the Chicago Academy for the Arts for 25 years. His family requests that contributions be made to the Chicago Academy for the Arts.

Mark A. Cullison, who served as the assistant director to James Bohnen on Remy Bumppo’s production of Athol Fugard’s The Island earlier this year (and who was slated to AD for the company’s production of The Importance of Being Earnest later this season) died suddenly at age 47 on September 5. Mark leaves behind his wife, Laura Cullison, and children Alec and Audrey.