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Eve Adamson, 68; Founder, Artistic Director of Jean Cocteau Repertory

October 14, 2006|Mary Rourke | Times Staff Writer

Eve Adamson, the founder of the Jean Cocteau Repertory company in New York City and the group's artistic director until 1989, has died. She was 68.

Adamson died at her home in New York City on Sunday, said her brother, Lloyd Crisfield of Redondo Beach. The cause was unclear, he said. She had complained to him of flu-like conditions last Saturday.

She founded the Cocteau Repertory theater in 1971 as an ensemble company of actors.

To get started, "I went out and rented a store and bought 49 seats from the old Brooklyn Fox movie house and opened a theater," she told the New York Times in 1990.

Several years later, the company moved into the Bouwerie Lane Theater on the Lower East Side of New York City, where it remained.

Adamson directed old and modern classics, including plays by Cocteau, Anton Chekhov and Euripides.

In 1981 she premiered "Something Cloudy, Something Clear," by Tennessee Williams, who was the company's playwright in residence before he died in 1983.

Adamson was born and raised in Beverly Hills, the daughter of composer and lyricist Harold Adamson, who worked on dozens of popular films, including "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" in 1953 and "An Affair to Remember" in 1957.

She attended the Chadwick School on the Palos Verdes Peninsula and Marlborough School in Los Angeles, her brother said this week.

For several years in the 1950s, she directed children's theater in Los Angeles before moving in the 1960s to New York City, where she got started by directing new works in off-off-Broadway productions.

"It could not have been farther away from the Beverly Hills, Hollywood milieu," said actor Craig Smith, a longtime friend of Adamson, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times this week.

"Eve was always of the theater. She pretty much rejected the Hollywood scene," said Smith, who was an actor in the Cocteau Repertory company during Adamson's years there.

After she resigned from the Cocteau in 1989, Adamson continued directing plays in cities around the world, including a 2005 production of Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" at A Noise Within theater company in Glendale.

Her marriage to actor Warner Jones ended in divorce. She is survived by her brother.

mary.rourke@latimes.com

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