Ed Krieger, prolific photographer of L.A.’s 99-seat theaters, dies at 73

Ed Krieger was beloved by local theaters as a photographer who chronicled the life of the stage.
(From the Krieger family)

Ed Krieger, an actor who became one of the most prolific photographers of L.A.’s 99-seat theaters, has died. He was 73.

He had been struggling with his health for the last year and a half, his daughter, Courtenay Krieger, said.

Krieger performed in musical theater, movies, TV, commercials and voiceover, but it was the stage that he loved best, Courtenay wrote in an email. Some of his favorite theater credits included performing in “Godspell” and “Man of La Mancha” in Chicago. Later he appeared in numerous productions at Downey Civic Light Opera.

Photography was also a passion, and for decades Krieger mixed his keen photographic eye with his devotion to theater by becoming the go-to photographer for dozens of 99-seat theaters in the L.A. area.


“He’s one of the most recognized names in L.A. theater, more so than some actors or directors, because he worked for everyone, and he always came through with that money shot,” said theater publicist Judith Borne in a phone interview.

Borne, like many publicists and artistic directors, came to rely on Krieger over the years for the production stills, publicity photos, poster prints, head shots and marketing brochures that helped attract audiences and critics to shows.

In a recent blog post on the Fountain Theatre’s website, co-Artistic Director Stephen Sachs wrote that the Fountain’s history is chronicled in a collection of photographs going back 30 years, thousands of which were taken by Krieger.

“Multiply that by fifty, by one hundred, by two hundred other theater companies throughout the Los Angeles area and you get an idea of the immense contribution this man has made to our livelihood, our business, and our art,” Sachs wrote.

The Times ran photos by Krieger to illustrate reviews and stories about such companies as Skylight Theatre, Boston Court and North Hollywood’s El Portal.

“Ed brought a great love of theater to the work,” Borne said.

He also brought great conversation, she added. Whenever Krieger showed up for a shoot, he’d start talking about the shows other theaters were doing and what was happening in the wings. He enjoyed reminiscing about his own theatrical exploits and never fell short on charm with his delivery, Borne said.

Ed Krieger in a Chicago theater production of "Charlie Brown" in the 1970s.
(From the Krieger family)

Krieger was born in 1947 in Chicago. He attended Cornell College, where he studied biochemistry and theater.

He dabbled in photography as a hobby and began a freelance business in Chicago before moving to Los Angeles. He continued shooting pictures even as his acting career grew to include credits in films and television including “The Return of the Living Dead,” “Child’s Play 2” and “Melrose Place.”

“He has always greatly loved theatre, whether that was on stage or behind the scenes, and that shows in his photos,” Courtenay wrote. “Many of his colleagues have said what a great storyteller he was with his photography.”

He was also a fantastic father, wrote Courtenay. One who always managed to show up at every soccer match, gymnastic competition and stage performance.

“He passed on his love of music and theater to us as well,” she added.

Krieger is survived by Courtenay and his son, Will Krieger.

Jen Yamato and Daryl H. Miller contributed to this report.