Family and friends of George Woods gathered Friday at the Aliso Creek Inn to share memories of the actor and longtime Patriots Day Parade commentator, who died July 3. He was 75.
"He was a wonderful man, full of personality and always a pleasure to have around," said Laguna Playhouse Artistic Director Andrew Barnicle. "He was a great raconteur."
Mr. Woods starred in four plays at the Playhouse after Barnicle joined the creative staff in 1991, and at least six others before that.
"He played Bottom in 'A Mid-Summer's Night Dream' and Mr. Holden in 'Ah Wildnerness,' for which he won a Drama Logue award," Barnicle said. "He also starred in 'Underpants,' written by Steve Martin, and guest starred in 'Picasso at the Lapin Agile.'
"George was wonderful with the kids from our Youth Theatre that played the fairies in 'Midsummer.' They were always climbing all over him."
Other plays in which he performed at the Playhouse included "Noises Off," "The Front Page," and "Sherlock Holmes," according to officials of the Patriots Day Parade.
When Anne Wood was honored in 2005 with the Exchange Club's Book of Golden Deeds, Mr. Woods and former Playhouse Director Doug Rowe served as masters of ceremonies at the award luncheon held at Tivoli Terrace.
Both men worked at the Playhouse when Wood was active behind the scenes as prompter and stage manager.
"That will always stand out in my memory," Wood said.
Wood stage-managed several plays in which Mr. Woods appeared.
"He was an ideal actor," Wood said. "If he wasn't playing one of the leads, he was always helpful with the other actors. And he had a dynamite voice."
Admirers of Mr. Woods plan on getting together to share precious memories of him, Wood said.
Mr. Woods performed on television and radio and in training films and commercials and South Coast Repertory, where he appeared in "Galileo," "The Showoff," and "The Merchant of Venice."
Mr. Woods also performed in Gallimaufry's production of "Meet Me in St.Louis."
Julie Josephson, wife of Gallimaufry's executive artistic director, Steve Josephson, said she is very saddened by the loss.
"He was a real theater person," she said, adding that Gallimaufry was hoping to include him in their upcoming production season.
A non-denomination minister licensed to perform marriages, Mr. Woods also officiated at the city's annual candlelight vigils for AIDS victims and was known to many as "Rev. Woods."
Mr. Woods was born March 6, 1935 in Cambridge, Mass. He moved to California in 1957 and to Laguna Beach in 1976.
He is survived by his wife of 34 years, Jeanne, daughter Kathleen Valdez, sons George Woods and Paddy Woods, grandsons Cruz and Sam Valdez and George Woods.