Rudy Solari, 56, actor and stage director and producer, died April 23 in Indio, Calif., of cancer.

In 1976, Solari converted the Beverly Canon theater in Beverly Hills to a 380-seat legit house called the Rudy Solari Theater (now the Canon theater), opening with Tom Stoppard’s “The Real Inspector Hound” and Peter Shaffer’s “Black Comedy.”

He operated the theater for five years, bringing there such shows as Herb Gardner’s “The Goodbye People,” starring Patty Duke; Thomas Babe’s “Fathers And Sons,” starring Richard Chamberlain; and “Otherwise Engaged,” starring William Shatner. During this time, he also headed the master’s program in acting at U. of California at Los Angeles.

Solari moved to L.A. from San Francisco in 1956, working as an actor in tv and at the Horseshoe Theater. He later went on to join the national tour of “A View From The Bridge.”

He was the drama coach at Warner Bros. for two years and opened his first theater in Los Angeles in 1961. The 200-seat venue, called the Actor’s Theater, opened with a production of Archibald MacLeish’s “J.B.”

In 1966, his Actor’s Theater merged with Guy Stockwell’s Los Angeles Art Theater. They moved into the 500-seat Horace Mann School Auditorium in Beverly Hills that same year with Henry Greenberg’s “People Need People,” which ran for six months.

Survived by his wife, Niki, a daughter, two sons, a sister and two grandchildren. A nephew, Gary Grimes, is an actor.

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