Andra Akers, longtime actress, philanthropist and founding member of the Mark Taper Forum repertory theater company, died March 20; cause of death is still under investigation. She was 58.
The daughter of President Kennedy’s ambassador in New Zealand, Akers attended NZ’s Victoria U. before enrolling at Sarah Lawrence where she majored in theater and political science.
After several stints on the New York stage, Akers got her big break touring with Stephen Sondheim’s “A Little Night Music” and won a Los Angeles Drama Critics award for her performance as Charlotte.
She settled in L.A. where she found further success in stage, TV and film productions. She also pursued her passion for various scientific disciplines. Her intensive studies led her to found the Intl. Synergy Institute, a nonprofit interdiscplinary think tank. She then founded Pacific Shift Inc. in order to raise consciousness of environmental issues in mainstream corporations.
She served on many diverse advisory boards, such as the Center for Partnership Studies, the Mobius Group and the Lindesfarne Fellows in New York. Akers also was instrumental in founding the Nae-Tao Clinic on the Thailand/Burma border to aid victims of landmines in the area.
She was working on several books at the time of her death.
She is survived by her mother, Jane Ridgway, a sister Ellery and others.