CHRISTOPHER--Sybil, died on Thursday, March 7th in her beloved New York City surrounded by her family and friends. Recently retired as Co Artistic Director, with Murphy Davis, of The Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor, NY, she had also worked as a literary agent at ICM in Los Angeles, was a founder of the renowned New York nightclub, Arthur, in the 1960s, and was an actress in what is now The Royal Shakespeare Company. She was born Sybil Williams in The Rhondda Valley in South Wales to a family of teachers. Both her parents died by the age of 14. She fell in love with the theater at the age of 15 when she was living with her sister and brother-in-law, Elsie and Eddie Newell, seeing a new play every week at Northhampton Rep in England. She attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. At the age of 19 she appeared in the film, The Last Days of Dolwyn, and met her first husband, the 23 year old Richard Burton. She continued to act for a short while appearing with her husband in Henry IV Part1 and The Tempest at The Royal Shakespeare Theater. They were married for 14 years and had two daughters, Kate and Jessica. After their divorce, Sybil moved to New York, worked as a casting director for The New Theater and met her lifelong friend, Mike Nichols. She then founded Arthur, along with Edward Villella and Roddy McDowall, and from 1964 to 1968 it was the hottest nightclub in New York. It was there that she met Jordan Christopher, who was the lead singer for the house band, The Wild Ones. They married and had a daughter, Amy. The next 26 years were spent in New York, where Jordan became a Broadway actor, then to Los Angeles, then back to New York. After their divorce, she founded The Bay Street Theatre with Emma Walton (the daughter of her life long friends, Julie Andrews and Tony Walton) and Emma's husband, Stephen Hamilton. Bay Street is still producing plays. She is survived by her brother, Alun Williams, her daughter Kate, an actress, Jessica and Amy, a casting director, as well as her step daughter, Jodi Janowiak, Her sons-in-law, Michael Ritchie and Kenny Janowiak and her grandchildren, Morgan and Charlotte Ritchie, Scarlett Christopher Givner and Jordan and Jake Janowiak. She requested no funeral or memorial service. Her ashes will be scattered on her parents graves in The Rhondda this summer. Gifts in her memory can be made to the foundation that cares for her daughter, Jessica: The Devereaux Foundation 139 Leopard Road Berwyn PA 19312.
Published in The New York Times on Mar. 12, 2013