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Jay Curtis Crimp (1951 - 2011)

Obituary
71 entries | 14 photos
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Curt was born April 9, 1951 to Frank and Kay Crimp in Ellensburg, WA and died at home February 28, 2011. He attended the Ellensburg Public Schools and graduated from Ellensburg High School in 1969. He developed a passion for the theatre and arts by performing in many plays throughout his years in high school. His love and passion for the arts became quite clear to our family when he jumped out his bedroom window to go see "West Side Story" back in the early 60's despite being told "no" by Mom and Dad.

He attended Central Washington University for 3 years performing in several of their plays and then transferred to the University of Washington with the intention of graduating with a degree in drama education. He did his student teaching in Seattle and looked forward to becoming a drama teacher. But in the summer of 1973 he took a fob performing in summer stock theatre in Sullivan, Illinois. With 2 weeks left before fall semester at the UW began, Curt went to New York City with some friends to catch a Broadway play and see life in that big city. He saw a poster for an open call for 10 backup dancers for a musical called "Applause" starring Patrice Munsel. There were 200 men there auditioning and he was selected for the 10th spot The musical toured the United States for 1 year, even stopping in Yakima, and thus, this was the beginning of his career as dancer/actor/singer.

For the next 15 years Curt participated in many summer stock theatres, from Columbus, OH to Lake Oswego, OR to Birmingham, AL to Madrid, Spain. During this time he lived in New York City for 3 years and then moved to Hollywood, CA in the late '70's. He also developed a love for choreography during this time and choreographed several of the summer stock plays. He choreographed and starred in many plays: Godspell, Jesus Christ Superstar, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Shenandoah, Grease, Hello Dolly, Oliver, Sound of Music and many others. His film credits during those 15 years include "Saturday Night Fever" and "Grease" where he dances next to John Travolta and bit parts acting in "Jagged Edge," "The X Files," and "The Bucket List." He was also hired as dance instructor for Paul Newman in his movie "Fat Man, Little Boy."

Through his dancing and choreography skills he organized a troupe called "A Chorus Line of Care" that raised money for aids victims. They performed many times and at many events in Hollywood.

As he grew older, the dancing was taking its toll and so he sought other, less physical means of supporting himself. He became a camera coordinator/blocker for situation comedy the last 20 years. This job entailed rehearsing the episode for the director and taking the actors to the exact spot on stage where they were to perform each scene so that the director could check camera angle, sound and lighting. Many times he was also called on to be an extra in several of the scenes and can still be seen oftentimes in the background of the old reruns on TV. His sitcoms included "Cheers," "Coach," 'Wings," "News Radio," "Dharma and Greg," "Win and Grace," "That 70's Show," and "The Big Bang Theory." Curt loved to hike, camp and travel. He always returned to his beloved hometown of Ellensburg during the spring and summer months and loved to rest and swim at our cabin on Lake Cle Elum and foremost to help with the Valley Musical Theatre. He helped choreograph some of their plays and had the honor of directing, choreographing and playing the lead role in "The Music Man" a few years back. He always expressed his joy in seeing so many from the Ellensburg community play an active role in the arts and his participation was his way of giving back.

My brother and I are extremely proud of Curt's accomplishments, his caring and giving attitude and the radiance he brought to everyone's lives through his character and charm.

Curt was preceded in death by his father, Frank Crimp Jr. and his mother Kay Crimp. He is survived by his two older brothers Keith and Frank Crimp, Keith's wife Betsy and their 3 sons Randy, Matthew, and Eric, Frank's wife Erika and their children Katheryn and Robert. In lieu of flowers any donation should go to the Valley Musical Theatre.

Visitation at Steward & Williams Tribute Center, 9:00 a.m. to 12 p.m. Monday, March 7th. A memorial service and reception will be held at Grace Episcopal Church at 2:00 p.m. Monday, March 7. Internment will follow at IOOF Cemetery.
Published in Daily Record from Mar. 2 to Mar. 8, 2011
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