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Longtime Denver Center actor Jim Baker passes away

denvercenterblog:

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By John Moore

Actor Jim Baker, a longtime member of the Denver Center Theatre Company in its earliest days, has died. Baker performed in dozens of shows from the early 1980s through at least 1994 opposite other seminal figures in the company’s history, including James Lawless, Jamie Horton and Kathleen M. Brady. He was 72.

Actor Sam Gregory described Baker as fabulously talented and hilarious. “I remember him making me laugh so hard I couldn’t breath in such shows as Tartuffe and School For Wives … and that’s while I was ON stage,” Gregory wrote on his Facebook page. “He was the real deal. A genuine force of nature.”

Baker was a Vietnam vet known just as much for being a character off stage as on. His seminal roles included Gloucester in King Lear, Falstaff in both parts of Henry IV, Marley in A Christmas Carol, and creating the character of Pap Finn for the Denver Center’s 1990 world premiere adaptation of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, written by Randal Myler.

Then-artistic director Donovan Marley told Baker he would not be allowed to utter the “n-word” as Pap in front of student audiences. So   Marley instructed him, “I need you to make this word just as bad as that word.”

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