William (Bill) Edward Mack, of New York, New York, was born in Evanston, Illinois. After attending Evanston Township High School, Bill went to the University of Connecticut and entered the Puppetry Department. He joined Jim Henson & Associates in 1979, working on Sesame Street and the Muppet Show. In 1981, Bill became a founding member of, and artistic director for, Union Square Theater in New York.
Bill formed the royal short company, known as the r.s.c., a puppetry theater company which toured the world, from Japan to Australia, and was a regular presence at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland. He also entertained theatergoers in front of the Delacorte Theater in New York for seven years with insightful, witty, and comical adaptations of classical productions.
In 1988 Bill and Liz Marek were working on a one-man off-Broadway play, an evening with the r.s.c., which was scheduled to open in the spring of 1989. The show contained "an entire season in just one night" along with film scenes of the life of "the actors" and how they became a part of the r.s.c. The work was based on the r.s.c.'s productions of classic stories condensed into hysterically funny quick productions. Some of the shows were The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickelby in 81/2 minutes; War & Peace (all 15 Parts & 2 Epilogues) in 51/2 minutes; Gone With the Wind a blow by blow account in 13 minutes; Swan Lake an American classic of the russian ballet; and It's Terrible—Just Terrible, a music video.
Critics around the world hailed Bill's style and work:
"Mack's wit & visual presentation is original and refreshing." - Radio Scotland
"Bill Mack does the impossible." - New York Post
"He is someone to keep your eye on." - Newsweek Magazine
"Mack is a fast & witty talker, you have to be on the ball to
catch everything he throws at you." - TV Times, Hong Kong
Joseph Papp said of Bill, "We will miss his friendship and creativity, and will never forget the sound of his laugh. For Bill, the world, truly, was his stage."
Bill's family was not restricted to the traditional family one is born with, but extended to close friends and their families. He could always surprise you with a visit or a phone call at any time. It touched a wide range of people around the world when his stage went dark.
The Elizabeth Marek and William Mack Scholarship Fund at the University of Connecticut supplies two-year scholarships for those enrolled in the Department of Fine Arts.
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