Two theater veterans, Bernie Yvon and Molly Glynn, died Saturday in separate accidents, dealing a devastating blow to the Chicago-area theater community -- many of whom took to social media to express their grief.
Yvon, an accomplished musical theater actor and near constant presence on the suburban scene, died after his car was struck by a semitrailer truck at Calumet and Broadmoor avenues in Munster, Indiana, according to Munster police. The crash occurred about 10 a.m. as Yvon, 50, was en route to a rehearsal of the musical "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" at Munster's Theatre at the Center. Yvon was minutes from the theater when the crash occurred, general manager Richard Friedman said.
"He was so vital a person and so well-liked. He never had a bad thing to say about anybody," Theatre at the Center artistic director William Pullinsi said.
Veteran stage and TV actress Molly Glynn, 46, also died Saturday after being struck by a tree uprooted during Friday's violent storms.
"I couldn't save her. I couldn't save her. She's gone," read a Saturday morning Facebook post by her husband and fellow actor, Joe Faust.
The Chicago couple were riding bicycles along a Cook County Forest Preserve trail near the Skokie Lagoons in Northfield Friday afternoon when the storm erupted, and Glynn was hit by the falling tree. Paramedics transported her to NorthShore Evanston Hospital in critical condition. A hospital spokeswoman confirmed the death of the peppery Glynn, who performed with First Folio Theatre in Oak Brook, Skokie's Northlight Theatre and Writers Theatre in Glenview, as well as Steppenwolf, Goodman and Chicago Shakespeare theaters, among others.
An instructor at the Acting Studio Chicago, Glynn also appeared on TV in "Chicago Fire," "Boss," and "Early Edition" and in several films.
"The widespread outpouring of grief and support on social media gives you an indication how central she was to the core of Chicago theater and what a tremendous role model she was," said Northlight artistic director BJ Jones, who co-starred with Glynn in Northlight's 2005 production of Thomas Gibbons' "Permanent Collection."
"She was a pillar in every cast," he added.
A native of Maine and a Northwestern University graduate, Yvon was a consummate song-and-dance man. The 30-year-veteran of Chicago theater was a fixture at Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire.
"He's a huge draw," said Marriott executive producer Terry James, a friend of Yvon's since college, who called Yvon "the most loved actor in Chicago."
"There's nobody more loyal as a friend. Nobody more fun loving. That became his trademark," James said.
Yvon "came into his own" as a comic actor over the past decade or so, said James, who described him as "old school" and willing to take any role.
"He never met a job he didn't like," James said. "He'd prefer to be Harold Hill, but he had no problem being the third guy from the left."
In that sense, Yvon epitomized the Chicago theater community that values ensemble, said Kyle DeSantis, president and CEO of Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace
"As long as he was part of a it (a show), as long as he was onstage performing, that's where he was happiest," DeSantis said.
"He was an essential part of the theater community. He'll be greatly missed."
• Daily Herald reporter Burt Constable contributed to this report