Carl Samuelson

Founder and producer of Stagedoor Manor

Carl Samuelson, founder and producer of performing arts camp Stagedoor Manor, died April 20 in Delray Beach, Fla. He was 77.

In 1976 Samuelson and his late wife, Elsie, created the theater camp in the Catskill Mountains of New York in partnership with teacher Jack Romano.

Samuelson, who had been involved in advertising, real estate and promotion for motion picture companies before becoming a New York area builder, decided soon after to devote himself full time to the org.

Performers who trained at the camp include Robert Downey Jr., Natalie Portman, Jon Cryer and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Todd Graff’s film “Camp” was loosely based on his experiences at Stagedoor Manor. The film, which was released last year, was also filmed on location at the facility.

The program will continue to operate into the future under family ownership.

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