In the words of one of his fellow actors: "The world just got a little less funny."
Members of the Dallas/Fort Worth theater community are mourning the loss of one of its most irreverent and talented family members this morning with news that Nye Cooper died Monday night at age 41. Cooper had been in hospice care since last week after a long illness that caused him to drop out of theater several years ago.
Originally from Louisiana, Cooper (b. Sept. 16, 1973), was well known in the theater community for his scathing wit. He was the type of person who could be brutally honest in his humor, and instead of drawing outrage, he drew laughter and head-shaking at how "wrong" he was, yet how spot-on and how funny. When he was still active on Facebook, his friends could not wait to see what Cooper had to say about anything—politics, theater, television...life.
Cooper performed in theaters across the Metroplex, including Theatre Arlington, Contemporary Theater of Dallas, Uptown Players and WaterTower Theatre, where he became known as the "go to" bitter elf, Crumpet, for their annual staging of David Sedaris' The Santaland Diaries," Sedaris' memoir about his stint as a Macy's Christmas elf. With his deadpan delivery and innate wry humor, Cooper didn't just play Crumpet; he was Crumpet. He later performed the role at CTD.
Cooper loved theater and acting. He was honored for his work with a Leon Rabin nomination. Cooper also loved messing with his fellow performers. One of his favorite things to do was try and make his fellow actors crack up on stage. In a production of Lucky Stiff at Theatre Arlington, his character reappears late in the farce dressed as one of the hotel's maids. With each performance, Cooper would make his makeup and his drag look appear worse and worse—smeared lipstick, wig askew, costume revealing his shoulders. Since he would burst onto the stage during a scene, his fellow performers had no way of knowing what he would look like until he was on stage, and they were trying to hide their laughter—sometimes unsuccessfully.
Cooper was a notoriously private person. Many didn't even know he was ill. We invite you to include your remembrances and tributes to Nye Cooper in the comments below.
UPDATE: The memorial for Nye Cooper is set for 6-10 p.m. Sunday, March 1 at Contemporary Theatre of Dallas, 5601 Sears St., Dallas.