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Douglas N. Cook, a longtime member of the artistic staff of the Utah Shakespeare Festival, has died of stomach cancer at his San Diego home. He was 84.
"We have lost a giant," festival founder Fred C. Adams said in a statement of his colleague of 37 years.
Cook, then a drama instructor at University of California at Riverside, joined the festival in 1964, two years after it was founded in Cedar City.
Over the years, he served as the festival's scenic designer, design director, associate producer and producing artistic director. Later, his contributions were crucial to the design and construction of outdoor Adams Memorial Shakespearean Theatre in 1977, and the Randall L. Jones Theatre in 1989.
After he retired in 2002, he stayed involved with the company as producing artistic director emeritus, sending letters once or twice a week and attending shows several times a season.
"Doug was such an amazing man," said R. Scott Phillips, USF executive director. "Early in my career, I remember watching how he would finesse a meeting with theater people. I was amazed at how he made everyone walk out of the room feeling good about the decision, whatever the decision was. Doug had a way of making everyone feel good about the direction a particular production would be going. He was a real mentor to me. I learned a lot about what I know about this business from Doug Cook."
In his academic career, Cook headed the theater and film department at Pennsylvania State University, and served as president or on the board of all of the country's major theatrical associations. He was one of the founders of the University Resident Theatre Association, as well as a co-founder of the Shakespeare Theatre Association.
Cook is survived by his wife, Joan, their son, Stephen, and two grandchildren. Funeral arrangements are pending.
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