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1942 - 2014 Obituary Condolences
January 5, 1942, to December 2, 2014. Actor, artist, and arts educator, Al Alu died at his home in Los Angeles of complications from cancer. He is survived by his loving companion and wife of 28 years, Tamara Blustein; his ex-wife, Cheryl Alu; cousins and many friends. And a special thanks to his caretaker, Ed Crucena. Born in Pittsburgh, Al started out as a singer while still a teenager and began his professional stage career at The Pittsburgh Playhouse in 1962. In 1965, he was selected by director William Ball to be a founding member of American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, along with such notables as Rene Aberjonois, Peter Donat, Michael Learned, Richard Dysart, Paul Shenar, and Kitty Winn. In 1966, Al was featured in Ball's controversial but acclaimed staging of Edward Albee's "Tiny Alice". In 1968, Al accepted an invitation from Mark Taper Forum artistic director Gordon Davidson to travel to Los Angeles to audition for the 1968-69 season. Al appeared in six productions over the next three seasons, including Othello with James Earl Jones and King Richard II with Richard Chamberlain. In 1972, Al reprised his role of Conrad Birdie in "Bye Bye Birdie", starring Chita Rivera and Orson Bean at The Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera. During the early 70s, Al lent his artistic talents to the building of a replica of London's Old Globe Theatre, as the home of newly founded Shakespeare Society of America in West Hollywood. In 1975, Al became a founding member of Theater Arts Program/Los Angeles (TAPLA). For four years, Al performed in a vast range of stage fare, from children's theater to Shakespeare, in schools and public facilities throughout the LA area. Following the demise of TAPLA, Al toured with Gretchen Cryer's Off-Broadway hit, "I'm Getting My Act Together and Taking It on the Road" (1982), performing at the Huntington Hartford Theater in LA. In 1990, Al retired from film and stage work and took up arts education, teaching at the City of LA's Museum of Art in Barnsdall Park. Al's last foray into acting occurred in 2003 when he recorded Dylan Thomas's "A Child's Christmas in Wales" at the studios of KPFK Radio. It made its debut nationally over the Pacifica Radio Network on Christmas Day 2003. It is now broadcast annually on Pacifica Radio. In 2012, it also aired on BBC Radio in Great Britain. Al was an avid reader and collector of books, and as an artist, he created and exhibited his architectural models of iconic Los Angeles landmarks such as the Formosa Café, El Coyote Restaurant, Pink's Hot Dog Stand, Canyon Country Store, The New Beverly Cinema and others. A Memorial Service will take place some time in early 2015.
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Published in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from Dec. 14 to Dec. 15, 2014
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