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March 16, 2007

ULM mourns loss of “Mr. Theatre” George C. Brian

George C. Brian, Professor Emeritus of Speech and Theatre at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, died Thursday, March 15, 2007 in St. Francis Medical Center in Monroe. He was 87.

Services will be at 2:00 P. M. Monday, March 19, 2007 at Northminster Church with Reverend Dr. C. Welton Gaddy and Reverend Carl Gregg officiating. Interment will be in Young Family Cemetery, in Baton Rouge, LA. at 1:00 P. M. Tuesday, March 20, 2007, under the direction of Kilpatrick Funeral Home of Monroe, LA.

Friends tearfully remembered the Baton Rouge native and World War II veteran as the architect of the theater program at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. "He established an incredible program at the university," said Donna Ward, a choreographer and former student who credits Brian for her professional success. "He built that program."

For many years Brian brought Broadway performers to ULM who performed with students.

Brian earned his BA, MA and PhD from Louisiana State University. He was also theater director of the Rose Theatre of Bastrop and was involved in countless theatrical productions and lives.

"He was awe-inspiring," said Tommy Usrey, president and CEO of the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council. "He had a great love for what he was doing and transmitted that to his students. I could see it even as an adult. He was ‘Mr. Theatre’ in Northeast Louisiana."

He was caring, giving students his time when they needed it, Usrey said. "Everybody has a teacher like that; everybody needs a teacher like that."

He was one of a kind. I was amazed at all he has managed to do during his life, from his service experience in North Africa to his service at ULM. He was very memorable and hard-working,” said long-time friend Jerry Holmes, who handled the Visiting Artists series for 29 years in addition to being a member of the English department before retiring. “We became fast friends when I arrived at the university and remained so through the years.”

Brian was talented in many ways. His career at ULM brought Broadway stars to Monroe and he became friends with actors such as Mercedes McCambridge and Andy Devine. Dr. Brian made several movies and documentaries in Louisiana. "The Gift of the Ouachita" has been seen in all parish schools. Brian also filmed and directed many other movies and plays. He was the director of the Youth Theatre, which touched many lives. He could tap dance, sing, act and as everyone knows could make them laugh. He preformed with the Twin City Ballet Co. for 30 years. His directing and acting career spanned for many years. He was active in his writings until his death.

He was a Paul Harris member of the Rotary Club, Sons of the American Revolution, Sons of the Confederate Veterans, American Legion and lifetime member of the Little Theatre. He was also a charter member of Northminster Church.

Brian was preceded in death by his first wife, Jo Tharpe Brian and a brother, Walker Brian.

Brian is survived by his wife Freida Adams Brian, daughter Carol Brian Luscombe and husband Burl, three step-children, Michel J. Adams, Brent Adams and wife Rhonda, Liese Adams Borden and husband Roland, two grandchildren, Katie and Brian Carnahan, seven step-grandchildren, Devin Luscombe, Lane, Lauren and Brent Borden, John and Anna Adams and Kirstie Henley.

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