Family members are still mystified about what caused the death of well-known Seattle actor Mark Chamberlin, who was found lying next to his bicycle Sunday morning on Dexter Avenue North and died a couple of days later.
Family members are still mystified about what caused the death of well-known Seattle actor Mark Chamberlin, who was found lying next to his bicycle Sunday morning on Dexter Avenue North and died a couple days later.
The Seattle Fire Department said Mr. Chamberlin, 55, fell from his bike on Dexter, near the Fremont Bridge, and was taken to Harborview Medical Center, where he died Tuesday. He died just as he was preparing to be released, friends said.
Peter Jacobs, a friend of Chamberlin’s who is also an actor, said Chamberlin got out of his hospital bed, said he felt unwell and died.
“Mark was a guy who a lot of people will say he was their closest friend,” said Jacobs, who had known him since 1995. “He was always willing to help with advice, anything you needed. He was one of the best people you know.”
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Portland-born, Mr. Chamberlin was a recognized versatile stage actor in Seattle who also appeared on Broadway and in TV and film projects.
He ended a stint early this month as Odysseus in “The Odyssey” at Taproot Theatre, and local audiences saw him over the past year in “The River Why” at Book-It and in “The Female of the Species” and “A Christmas Carol” at ACT Theatre.
Mr. Chamberlin served on the advisory board of the University of Washington School of Drama and was on the board of New Century Theatre in Seattle.
He was set to star starting next month in “O Lovely Glowworm” at the New Century. The theater said the production will go on, and it will dedicate the “Glowworm” performances to Mr. Chamberlin.
Michael Patton, executive director of the theater, said he’d spoken to Mr. Chamberlin about 10:30 Tuesday morning, and Mr. Chamberlin was excited to be going home. He died at about 11:30 a.m., he said.
“He was a towering force in our community,” Patton said. “He was a seriously dedicated husband and father and worked at all the major theaters in town. He was a very major player in the local acting scene and was a driving force behind us doing this show.”
The fact that he agreed to perform with New Century was a major coup, Patton said.
Mr. Chamberlin was also president of the board of the ALS Association’s Evergreen Chapter. “He was key in transforming us to the organization it is today,” said DeDe Steiner, who works in development for the group. “We’re all stunned.”
Mr. Chamberlin became involved when close friend Bob Nadir, also an actor, died of ALS.
Nadir’s wife, television actor Cindy Tewes, said the two men bought houses, fixed them up and resold them. “I’m grateful for all the work he did for the ALS Association,” Tewes said. “He was a very important member of the acting community; he knew what show everybody was in.”
Rebecca Moore, executive director of the association, said Mr. Chamberlin was passionate about helping people living with ALS. “He gave a voice to people who had no voice,” she said. “We’re devastated. It’s a huge loss for us. Mark was a bundle of energy, passionate about helping people with ALS.”
Every year Mr. Chamberlin would make an 85-mile bike ride to raise money for ALS research.
Mr. Chamberlin liked to spend time at his vacation home on Lake Cushman in Mason County with his wife, Elizabeth, of Seattle, and children Isaac, who’s attending college in California, and Kate, of Seattle.
Jacobs said Mr. Chamberlin had a part in a movie, “The Ward,” scheduled to be released soon. He said the two drove to Spokane together to audition for the same part, and Mr. Chamberlin won it. “He always had something going on,” Jacobs said. “I don’t know how he did it all.”
Meanwhile, friends of Mr. Chamberlin have started to raise money to put bike racks outside Seattle theaters in his honor.
Services have not been scheduled.
Susan Gilmore: 206-464-2054 or email@example.com