A memorial service has been scheduled Sunday for Justin Smith, an actor, drama coach and writer-director who was the first admitted gay person to receive a California Artist-in-Residency grant.
Smith died in Santa Monica Thursday from complications of AIDS.
He was 66 and had been battling the nearly always fatal acquired immune deficiency syndrome disease since December, said Michael Kearns, a longtime associate.
Smith was an actor and dancer who became dramatic coach to such entertainers as Keith and David Carradine and Raquel Welch. His studio in West Hollywood became a gathering place for both drama students and gays emerging from the closet in the 1970s.
In 1983 he was given the state grant to continue his acting classes under the auspices of the Gay and Lesbian Community Service Center.
For the last 10 years Smith had been involved with the Gay and Lesbian Rights Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, as an officer to the Stonewall Democratic Club and as a delegate to the state Democratic Convention.
Most recently he had developed a one-man show, "Justin Smith, Live," dealing with the double bind of aging gracefully as both a man and a homosexual, said Kearns. Much of the proceeds from the show went to the Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center.
The memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. at the Skylight Theatre, 1816 1/2 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, where he often performed. His survivors include his longtime companion, David Ruiz, and a sister, Lynne Warm Griffiths.