Mack J. Gilbert

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  • "As a teen, I worked at Gilbert Shoe Store, which was down..."
    - Phyllis Roth Schlezinger Cantor
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Gilbert Mack J. Gilbert, age 85, died November 11, 2014, in New York City, where he had lived for most of the past fifty years. A 1947 graduate of Bexley [Ohio] High School, he attended the University of Miami (Coral Gables) and later took courses at the Yale School of Drama. Though briefly in business in the late 1960s as president of Gilbert Shoes, the downtown and suburban Columbus chain established by his father, Harry Gilbert, his real love was the theater. Eclectic, artistic, and larger than life, Mack was a vivid presence in Gallery Players productions in Columbus throughout the early 1960s. His show business career included a memorable appearance as Bachelor Number 2 on "The Dating Game". In 1972, he produced and acted in "Hillary's Blues," an independent film starring Melinda Marx, to whom he was briefly married. He worked for many years on "Capitol Cakewalk," a ragtime musical based on the life of Warren G. Harding. Although the New York Times described a 1990 workshop production as "one of the season's more ambitiously conceived shows," the play never made it to Broadway. Mack lived his later years in New York City. He continued to work on screenplays, memoirs, and other projects, writing every day until shortly before his death. Born July 25, 1929, Mack was preceded in death by his father Harry Gilbert, his mother Fannie Gilbert, his brother Dr. Ivan Gilbert, and his sister Dorothy Gilbert Friedman. He is survived by numerous cousins; and by his nephews, Daniel Friedman, Portland, Oregon, James Gilbert Friedman and Laurence Gilbert, Columbus, Richard Gilbert, Phoenix, Arizona and Jonathan Gilbert, Asheville, North Carolina. Graveside service will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, November 14 at NEW AGUDAS ACHIM CEMETERY, 2565 Performance Pkwy. with Rabbi Howard Zack officiating. In lieu of flowers, donations are preferred to CATCO Online guestbook at

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Epstein Memorial Chapel
3232 East Main Street
Columbus, OH 43213
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Published in The Columbus Dispatch on Nov. 13, 2014