Richmond Shepard: 1929 – 2019: Mime & My Friend

by: Stanley Allan Sherman

Richmond Shepard born 24 April 1929, has passed on peacefully at age 90 the evening of July 2, 2019.

Richmond Shepard in hat

Without question he lived life his way, with lots joy. He co-produced my Aero Show with me in 1986. My good friend Joel Weiss met Richmond in LA at a down time for him and got Richmond into lots of movies free. Richmond love it. Joel called me, mail your solo mime show information to Richmond Shepard, then give him a call, of course Joel told Richmond about me and my Aero Show. Next thing I know I had what every performer dreams. A real theater run in a major city.

First time I heard of Richmond Shepard was at Ecole Jacques Lecoq theater mime movement in Paris France 1971. Happened to be in the office to pay Fay or speak with Lecoq about something and a fellow student bought Richmond’s book on mime showing to our master teacher. Lecoq looked at it. Well… lets just say it was not his cup of tea and the student did not get the book back.

Second time I read about Richmond Shepard in the late 1970′s early 80′s; had been trying to produce an Off Broadway Vaudeville Show here in NYC; coming so close. Have done lots of solo shows, figured it would be better to go up with lots of other performers. Looking for acts from around the country; would go to the NY Public Library and read all major news papers show reviews from different cities round the country. The Richmond Shepard Theaters always had rave reviews and very interesting acts in this theater. Richmond had a great eye for quality shows. In LA knew how to get the reviewers into his theater. When Joel Weiss mention Richmond Shepard I knew exactly who he was and the quality of shows, most important reviews of show his theaters received. This was a major win. Deal we made; Richmond would provide me with a place to sleep and four wheel to get around, crew, theater, lights, PR etc and we would split the box office 50 – 50.

Open the beginning of February 1986, The LA Times reviewer Kirk Ellis was there for the Sunday Show. When Richmond Shepard saw Kirk he yelled at him for giving a bad review for a show that Richmond felt was a great show. This was right before he went into see my solo show. Found out about this after my show; and thought it was over – not good.

Wednesday morning I got a call from Richmond. “Stanley, plan on staying for while… Go buy several copies of the LA Times”

Los Angeles Times
Wednesday, February 5 1986

Stage Review
A Magical Clown Act Takes Flight
By Kirk Ellis

There hasn’t been a clown Act like “Stanley Allan Sherman’s Aero Show Featuring the Star-Spangled Banner” (at the Richmond Shepard Theatre) since Bill Irwin Rolled into town with his “Regard of Flight” a few seasons back.

That was the opening and it just got better.

Lets say I was stunned. Slowly reading the review that Richmond Shepard made happen. Yes read it several times. Tears did come my eyes. Then other excellent reviews followed. Have many very funny stories about that six month run in LA, especially about the four wheels he gave me. Learned a lot of lessons. Every show I would concentrate on one element to improve. People would come back dozens of times to see the show. All this Richmond Shepard helped to make happen.

In years to come, people would book my show just from that review, I received at the Richmond Shepard Theater.

Richmond Shepard in a tux, holding up 1 finger, with a while hat.

Richmond Shepard Playing Lord Buckley

Richmond moved to NYC, yes had a theater here, producing shows throughout the year and renting it out. Directed his own works and taught. Would come over every Christmas Eve when I had my penny anti poker game. Always bring a beautiful lady, pennies and a excellent bottle of liquor. He would come to my Passover Seders, always bring dozens of hard boiled eggs for everyone to dip in salt water and eat at the beginning of the Seder. It was his custom from his family. In his 80′s he was still teaching privet mime classes in his small NY apartment in NYC. John Towsen told me a friend of his was taking a mime class from Richmond just last week. He painted and had his painting all over his apartment walls. Richmond was always performing. He wrote some excellent plays. Funny and profound.

Richmond Shepard in White Mime face

Richmond Shepard in White Mime face

Sabbath is Monday! Monday is the actors Sabbath,” Richmond would declare to me. He often would come out with very wise statements just at the right time when you needed them. One of his saying, “A friend tells you, you need to change your deodorant.” Yes it is simple, yet so profound. A real friend tells you the truth. Richmond always did; even in situations where others would never say anything. He did, which helped create positive change. Creating his own way, his life was full of adventures, truth, laughter and joy. You made your good mark Richmond Shepard and will always be remembered. Thank you for helping our world laugh.

Richmond Shepard standing


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