1928 - 2021
>Ann Raim Bowen, on the brink of 93, passed away peacefully at home in her beloved Belnord apartment on her beloved Upper West Side on April 24, 2021.
Ann was born in New York City on June 16, 1928, to Goldie and Joseph Raim, and was raised in the Bronx. A "red diaper baby" and an only child beset with allergies and asthma, she was raised in a family of left-wing intellectuals, artists and musicians, and used all of this as the foundation for her career as an actress, as one of the pioneers of improvisational theatre in the 1960s and 70s, and as a celebrated director for the stage, which she continued doing throughout her ninth decade.
She started her directing career at The Second City in Chicago, where she met and married Roger Bowen, who was a founding member of both the Compass Players and The Second City, as well as a novelist, a playwright, and an actor most well known for his role as Colonel Blake in the movie version of M*A*S*H. After they moved to San Francisco, Ann formed the Pitschel Players, a group of political and social satirists that had a ten-year run in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Much of Ann's directing career was on the West Coast. She directed at the Mark Taper Forum, the Los Angeles Theatre Center, and the Matrix and Odyssey Theatres. She received the Dramalogue Best Director Award for her production of Athol Fugard's The Island with Danny Glover and Carl Lumbly. In 1999, she again directed Danny Glover alongside Nobu McCarthy in Philip Ken Gotanda's Yohen.
Ann moved back to New York with Roger in 1980 and went on to direct Off and Off-Off Broadway, including works by playwrights such as Harold Pinter, Sam Shepard, John Patrick Shanley and David Mamet. She also founded the Theatre Gym, which was created as a home base for actors and directors to work on their craft in an atmosphere of supportive, constructive criticism.
Ann was an amazing director, able to pull often brilliant performances from even nonprofessional actors, but to those who knew her and loved her, she went beyond that as a friend, a mentor, and a partner. Witty, curious, an astute observer of human behavior, she was always ready for a celebration, and she created family wherever she went. She was adored by many, but she was adored most by her late husband Roger, and her three children, Michael, Katie and Danny. In addition to her children, she is survived by three grandchildren, including Annie, her partner in Chinese Checkers among other things, who was with her in her final days. Their bond was, and is, unbreakable.
There will be no formal funeral service for Ann, but memorials in New York and Los Angeles will be held at a later time.
Published in New York Times from May 6 to May 7, 2021.