Longtime East Hollywood theater director is slain

A small, respected East Hollywood theater was reeling Sunday following the slaying of one of its longtime directors.

Bennett Bradley, 59, was found stabbed to death about 5:50 p.m. Saturday in his Mid-Wilshire-area apartment, according to Los Angeles police. Detectives believe the apartment was the target of a robbery but said they had few leads.

“At this point, we have very little to go on,” said Officer Karen Rayner. “We are asking for the public’s help.”

Bradley had worked at the Fountain Theatre for 16 years and had become its public face, producing director Simon Levy said Sunday night.

Bradley was largely responsible for managing box office operations. But like the other principal managers at the theater, he wore many hats and was also a talented director and producer, Levy said.

The theater’s core management team had been largely intact for years, Levy said, and was very close.

“We’ve all been together for such a long time,” Levy said. “We’re just all in shock. We’re baffled. . . . There is hardly anybody in this theater community who does not know Ben in one way or another. He was just this big, loving personality.”

The theater is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and Bradley was directing “The Ballad of Emmett Till,” scheduled to open in February.

The show is based on the real-life story of a black teenager whose murder helped spark the civil rights movement. It was an important production for the theater and for Bradley.

The theater staff met for four hours Sunday and decided to go forward with the show -- “to honor him,” Levy said.

Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call (213) 382-9470 or (877) LAPD-24-7.