Mandell Weiss, a frustrated actor who became a beloved angel of San Diego-area theater, died Wednesday at age 102 after a short illness.
Donations by Weiss spawned two theaters and provided the impetus for the rebirth and growth of the La Jolla Playhouse into national recognition.
Weiss’s 1981 gift of $ 1.4 million helped finance a 492-seat theater at the U. of California, San Diego, that is the Playhouse’s main stage, the Mandell Weiss Theater. It opened in 1983 and, like other Playhouse facilities, is shared with UCSD’s drama department during the academic year.
In 1988, another Weiss gift of $ 1.3 million provided the Mandell Weiss Forum , a 384-seat house that opened in 1992 and gave the Playhouse a state-of-the-art second stage. In addition to those donations, Weiss made regular contributions to Playhouse fundraising campaigns.
Playhouse artistic director Des McAnuff says Weiss’s salesmanship helped persuade McAnuff to take his post in 1983. ,
Weiss said his involvement with the Playhouse gave him a sense of purpose and prolonged his life.
In 1987, Weiss got to fulfill a dream when he joined the chorus in the Harmonia Gardens restaurant scene of the Playhouse’s production of “The Matchmaker.”
Survivors include a daughter, three grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and one nephew.
Elise O’Connor, mother of actor Carroll O’Connor, died Saturday in Manhattan. She was 93.
She was a career teacher in the New York school system for more than 30 years.
She is survived by another son, Dr. Robert O’Connor; a brother and six grandchildren.
A funeral Mass will be said at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament, 152 West 71st St., Manhattan. Interment will follow at Calvary Cemetery, Queens.