Darius Ever Truly


Twenty-six-year-old Memphis actor Darius Truly was stabbed to death in what appears to have been a random attack in late October during a late night walk home from a Halloween party. He was here in Los Angeles appearing as Bobby Seale in Ron Sossi’s timely revival of The Chicago Conspiracy Trial at the Odyssey Theatre, the assault occurring after a performance of the play and only a few blocks from the venue.

I first and only experienced the amazing work of Mr. Truly once, on opening night of Suzi-Lori Parks' riveting The America Play at Theatre@Boston Court last year. I found his soaring, fearless talent to be a glimmering signal of hope for the dismal future of the American stage for the next generation. His shocking and so desperately unnecessary death is simply heartbreaking… and is a palpable loss for the next generation of gifted artists trying to maneuver through the apathetic pitfalls of modern life.

Mr. Truly was the recipient last January of my Ticketholder Award as 2006’s Best Actor in a Featured Role for America Play and I also nominated him for a Back Stage West Garland Award for the same performance.

As I noted in my review of his indelible LA stage debut: “The electrifying performance of Truly, landing smackdab somewhere between Stephen Fetchet and Sammy Davis Jr., vibrantly epitomizes Parks’ whole point here: that for the still often curiously displaced and disenfranchised race of African-Americans, there is no real recorded history that has not, if you’ll excuse the expression, been whitewashed into oblivion.”

Will Mr. Truly be missed? My God, Mr. Truly will leave a hole no one will ever even guess how spectacularly he might have filled it.

TRAVIS MICHAEL HOLDER teaches acting and theatre/film history at the New York Film Academy’s west coast campus at Universal Studios. He has been writing about LA theatre since 1987, including 12 years for BackStage, a 23-year tenure as Theatre Editor for Entertainment Today, and currently for ArtsInLA.com. As an actor, he received the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Best Actor Award as Kenneth Halliwell in the west coast premiere of Nasty Little Secrets at Theatre/Theater and he has also been honored with a Drama-Logue Award as Lennie in Of Mice and Men at the Egyptian Arena, four Maddy Awards, a ReviewPlays.com Award, both NAACP and GLAAD Award nominations, and six acting nominations from LA Weekly. Regionally, he won the Inland Theatre League Award as Ken Talley in Fifth of July; three awards for his direction and performance as Dr. Dysart in Equus; was up for Washington, DC’s Helen Hayes honors as Oscar Wilde in the world premiere of Oscar & Speranza; toured as Amos “Mr. Cellophane” Hart in Chicago; and he has traveled three times to New Orleans for the annual Tennessee Williams Literary Festival, opening the fest in 2003 as Williams himself in Lament for the Moths and since returning to appear in An Ode to Tennessee and opposite Karen Kondazian as A Witch and a Bitch. Never one to suffer from typecasting, Travis’ most recent LA performance, as Rodney in The Katrina Comedy Fest, netted the cast a Best Ensemble Sage Award from ArtsInLA. He has also been seen as Wynchell in the world premiere of Moby Pomerance’s The Good Book of Pedantry and Wonder and Frank in Charles Mee’s Summertime at The Boston Court Performing Arts Center, Giuseppe “The Florist” Givola in Brecht’s The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui for Classical Theatre Lab, Ftatateeta in Shaw’s Caesar and Cleopatra at the Lillian, Cheswick in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest at the Rubicon in Ventura, Pete Dye in the world premiere of Stranger at the Bootleg (LA Weekly Award nomination), Shelly Levene in Glengarry Glen Ross at the Egyptian Arena, the Witch of Capri in Williams’ The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore at the Fountain, and Dr. Van Helsing in The House of Besarab at the Hollywood American Legion Theatre. As a writer, he has also been a frequent contributor to several national magazines and five of his plays have been produced in LA. His first, Surprise Surprise, for which he wrote the screenplay with director Jerry Turner, became a feature film with Travis playing opposite John Brotherton, Luke Eberl, Deborah Shelton and Mary Jo Catlett. His first novel, Waiting for Walk, was completed in 2005, put in a desk drawer, and the ever-slothful, ever-deluded, ever-entitled Travis can’t figure out why no one has magically found it yet and published the goddam thing. www.travismichaelholder.com