R.I.P. Mr Bill Britten, born William Cohen, actor, director, producer, writer, teacher and one of the original comic actors who portrayed BOZO THE CLOWN I recently read that Mr Britten passed away peacefully on February 4, 2020 @ 93 years old.
In my Senior year of NYC's High School of Performing Arts (a.k.a. "P.A.") 1977, Mr Britten was my Drama teacher and Director of our Spring Drama Festival Senior production of 'Our Town.' I LVED him as a compassionate teacher & as a gifted director.
~ However, AFTER graduation, I kept in touch with Mr Britten. He allowed my to warm-up some of his Drama classes after P.A. moved from West 46 Street to merge with the High School of Music & Art, now called LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. Later on in life, Mr Britten attended my afternoon 50th Birthday party in Manhattan, along with his beautiful wife and some fellow P.A. alumni.
~ Once in awhile, we'd talk on the phone. Mr Britten was ECSTATIC when I told him that I found continuous paid work as a children's party performer, I called my character "Loco Rico The Clown" and that his portrayal of Bozo The Clown has been my constant inspiration
~ During our very last phone conversation, I asked Mr Britten's permission to call him by his 1st name, Bill. His response, "David, we've been friends for soooooo many years. Of course, you can call me Bill." - I didn't tell him this, but his response made me cry silent tears of joy. I simply said, "Thank you, Bill. I hope to visit you in New Jersey when the weather gets warmer."
~ Yes, I was planning on visiting my former Drama teacher & former Director this Spring, dressed as Loco Rico, but I guess that wasn't meant to be.
Rest In Peace, Bill. You've made many, many other people's lives BETTER with your teaching, direction, sense of humor, being an excellent listener, compassion, caring and most importantly, your genuine L❤VE for others❣
David Enrique Ramirez