Family and friends will gather to celebrate the life of longtime actor, director and producer John Elliott Jr. at 6 p.m. Saturday, June 11, at Boise Little Theater, 100 E. Fort St.
Elliott died on May 23, at 66. Cause of death is still pending but he struggled with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, says his niece Kathleen Elliott, who is a Boise attorney.
“We want it to be really uplifting,” she says.
A graduate of Boise State University, John Elliott was involved in Boise’s community theater scene for several decades on a variety of stages from Boise Little Theater to Boise Music Week to Stage Coach Theatre. He was involved in the early development of the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, which was founded in 1977, and once did commercial for the Los Angeles Raiders with fellow Boise actor Carole Whiteleather.
“He is a man of short stature but he was tall on talent,” says Charles Lauterbach, who taught Elliott when Lauterbach was a theater professor at BSU.
“The first time he auditioned he came in and did great, but then he dropped the script on the stage, and I thought, ‘I don’t need to work with an egotist,’” he says. “We worked together the next year and he was just fantastic.”
Elliott also toured in the one-man shows about Teddy Roosevelt and Tennessee Williams.
He also owned Elliott’s Antiques, which he ran for several years, first on Vista Avenue and then in Downtown Boise. The last several years he worked part time at Rose Hill Coin and Jewelry. Elliott made a comeback to the stage in 2008 with Alley Repertory Theatre’s production of “Burial at Thebes.”
“He was just remarkable,” Kathleen Elliott says. “He loved coins and antiquities, and if he gave you a gift it was unlike anything else.”
Elliott could be brusque and people often thought of him as cranky, but he also warm and funny, Kathleen says.
“He could be really sweet,” she says. “The last couple of years were really good.”
In lieu of flowers, the family is asking people to make donations to Boise Little Theater.