Frank James Geraci Jr.


Died February 24, 1994

College: Silliman

I met Frank my first day at Yale. Instantly he told me that he wanted to join the Dramat. We were in most of the plays they put on while we were there; we played the two leads in Waiting for Godot, in our junior year, and from that moment on we were both going to be actors for the rest of our lives. We graduated, came to New York, studied at HB Studio (with the great Uta Hagen), and eventually both taught at HB.

In the eighties, Frank became an actor in a new company called the Pearl, which became (and still is) the most consistently successful producer of classic plays in New York. He was a great company member, because he was able to be loving and supportive to his fellow actors but honestly and lovingly critical to them as well. Not many actors have both of these abilities, and Frank was beloved of his fellow actors in those early years that are so challenging in the time of any company. Then, one night in the early nineties, Frank put on a one-man show at the Pearl, to which he invited people close to him, and in which it became obliquely but lucidly expressed that he had AIDS. It was a warm, courageous show.

Later, Frank told me that he had suspected he was ill and had had himself tested as a 50th birthday present to himself, so that he could put his energy into facing and living in it, fully. He and I were acting, then, over months, in Hughie, a one-act play by Eugene O’Neill. All I had noticed was that he was even more brilliant than usual. Finally, of course, he spent more and more time in the hospital, and there he was as interested in everything as ever.

Everybody still misses him, and always will.

—by Austin Pendleton