| Stanley Alan Keilson
(Educator and theatre arts figure in Laredo, Texas)
|Born|| June 28, 1925 |
|Died|| October 15, 2018 (aged 93) |
|Spouse|| Never married|
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Keilson was the older of two sons of a Jewish couple, Charles Keilson and the former Estelle Hurwitz. In 1939, the family moved to San Antonio, Texas, where he graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in May 1943, just in time for induction into the United States Army in World War II. He was stationed in the Philippines, with training on the island of Luzon in preparation for the invasion of Japan. During his military service, Keilson received the Good Conduct, National Defense, Victory, World War II Victory, and Asiatic-Pacific Campaign medals.
After his war years, Keilson enrolled at the University of Texas in Austin and at Trinity University in San Antonio, at which he was actively involved in drama and received his Bachelor of Arts degree. He left for New York City, where he obtained his master's degree in 1952 at Columbia University. Thereafter, he began work in summer stock in upstate New York. He was a student of Broadway star Gertrude Lawrence (1898-1952). He attended many Broadway plays and watched, among others, Jessica Tandy (1909-1994) in the prime of her career.
In 1952, Keilson joined the faculty of Laredo College, then in its sixth year of operation and known as Laredo Junior College. He was named theatre director and chairman of Department of Speech and Drama. Keilson and Hortense Offerle, a Juilliard School of Music graduate who headed the Laredo Philharmonic Orchestra, revived the Laredo Little Theatre. He played Henry Higgins in the 1965 production of My Fair Lady, Willie Loman in Death of a Salesman, and Henry the Shakespearean actor in The Fantasticks. He retired from Laredo Junior College in 1985 but taught part-time thereafter until 1992.
Keilson emphasized that the actor should as much as possible be himself. He encouraged actors to move around so the audience could get a better look at them. According to one of his students, Gayle Aker Rodriguez, Keilson was an excellent educator who gave her great advice: "He was a Laredo theater icon, very unique, the nicest, most loving and wonderful man."
During Keilson's 92nd birthday celebration in 2017, his friend Joe Arciniega said that Keilson was extraordinary on stage, "the best actor I have ever seen live. There’s no one like him. He’s a memorable person. ... That’s how he is and so there’s a lot of people here that have known him. Everybody just kind of looks out for him. He’s a great guy, so we’re celebrating the time we have with him.”
Keilson died at his Laredo residence at the age of ninety-three. His brother, Dr. Gerald Robert Keilson, died in Dallas, Texas, the day before Stanley Keilson's own passing. Keilson is survived by cousins, Sunny Wager, Ivan Hurwitz, Syndei Levin, Jeri Sorosky, Sandy Hurwitz, Jill MacLaine, and Donny Hurwitz, and nephews, Mark Stephen and David Keilson. He is interred at Temple Beth-El Memorial Park, 1715 Austin Highway in San Antonio.
In 2014, Keilson was named “Icon of the Arts” by the Laredo Theater Guild International for his contribution to the arts, artists, and education. He is also honored with the Stanley A. Keilson Memorial Scholarship Fund established with the Laredo Area Community Foundation, P.O. Box 450223, in Laredo.
- Stanley A. Keilson. The Laredo Morning Times (October 16, 2018). Retrieved on October 27, 2018.
- Hortense Offerle. Corporationwiki.com. Retrieved on October 27, 2018.
- César Rodriguez (October 17, 2018). Local theater icon Stanley Alan Keilson remembered for directing, acting accomplishments. The Laredo Mornng Times.
- Andrea Castañeda (June 29, 2017). Laredo theater icon Stanley Keilson celebrates 92nd birthday. The Laredo Morning Times. Retrieved on October 27, 2018.