In Memory

Robert Wexler

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08/31/14 09:23 PM #1    

Judy Lewis (Burdett)

My friendship with Bobby Wexler began way back when we were in grade school. He was funny, kind and so talented. I expected that one day I would see his name in lights on Broadway.

Bobby sat directly across from me and most days he would whisper funny things and make me laugh. One day, though, he was all business, talking to himself, but just loud enough for our teacher, who I can't remember, to hear the disturbance. She reprimanded him and then went on with the lesson. Soon Bobby was at it again, talking and kind of singing. At this point the lesson was stopped and our very upset teacher asked Bobby to explain to everyone what was so important that he kept on interrupting the class. "I'm practicing for my Bar Mitzvah, " Bobby explained. With that, the teacher leaped from her chair, found a vacant room, and told Bobby to take all the time he needed to practice for this important event.

I was honored to be invited to Bobby's Bar Mitzvah and was nervous for him as he began to speak. But in true Bobby fashion he did a superb job. The party afterward was a joyous occasion, Bobby so proud, his infectious grin touching everyone.

I have thought of Bobby so often through the years wondering where and how he was. I was shocked and so very sad when I heard of his passing. I miss him.







09/01/14 07:18 AM #2    

Anne "Ahna" Cleveland

So glad, Judy, to see your post and honoring of Bobby. Yes, he was a bright light, an amazing talent, and one of the most fun and kind people I knew in high school.


09/01/14 10:00 PM #3    

H. Stephen Halloway

Bobby had the luck to have his house back onto the Cumberland grounds. Many, many days we would head over to his house after school. A very modern house.Unusual for the area. We shared an interest in theatre and both worked with amateur groups. But he was serious about his craft and went on to graduate from one of the best theatre programs in the country at Carnegie-Mellon. I saw him in the road show of Moon and Sixpence under his stage name: Robert Forte. Very apt because he was very strong in voice and spirit. He was able to do what he loved and was good at it.

09/02/14 02:48 AM #4    

Isabel Magidson

My parents and Bobby's parents were the best of friends, even to the point of his mother Jenny's playing mah jjong with my mom.  So when I started going to their house for lunch once in a while, we'd eat and then go upstairs to his ROOM and READ PLAYS to/with each other.   Cyrano de Bargerac was a particular favorite.  Well both sets of our parents soon put a STOP to THAT wanton behavior.  He was a sweet, sincere, smart and talented person, and I am sad that he had to take such an early outbound train.


09/02/14 10:39 AM #5    

Mary Dick (Wasserman)

A tiny vignette of Bobby after high school:

I'd moved to New York to go to graduate school and was taken out for dinner by the parents of a new roommate.  We went to a wildly overpriced restaurant that was perched at the very top of a skyscraper and specialized in wowing tourists with its sophistication, its glitter and flash, its Iberian cuisine. 

Embarrassed by eating in a tourist trap, I looked around for diversion.  Tens of busboys and servers in white jackets were milling around the room. It would have been total chaos without the head waiter. Despite his small build, he was a commanding presence, ordering each waiter to the appropriate table with the correct dish.  His Spanish was flawless, his manners continental.

And then he came to our table to take our orders.  As he reached me and we looked each other in the face, he flinched; I began to shout out, "Bobby Wexler!"  But he shook his head, looking around to be sure no one had heard me:  "Please don't.  They all think I'm from Spain."  In whispers he informed me that this was how he paid the bills whenever he wasn't in a theater production.

One of his most successful roles.

09/02/14 11:02 AM #6    

Kay Rahmlow (Reinhart)

Bobby's Shoes

I always wore Bobby's shoes on stage. I think we were together in the finale of the 1962 AFS show and he let me wear them for some reason, after which they became my good luck charm. Always borrowed, never mine and miles too big.

I saw him in Madison when he came into town in Oliver! -- that was a special night! And I got into trouble for sneaking out of the dorm--so worth it. He sent lots of post cards from the tour and when I moved to New York, working for my Actors Equity card, I asked the Union secretary for his number, figuring he was a member too. But I wasn't, so it took ages to finally prove I wasn't a stalker (just a groupie) and they finally gave it to  me. When I called him he laughed, telling me I could have looked him up--he was in the book. 

I miss him too.

09/02/14 03:51 PM #7    

Anne "Ahna" Cleveland

I'm so delighted to see the tributes flowing for Bobby and to learn more about how treasured he was by so many of us.  I had also seen him in Madison in the "Oliver " production, even though I had a broken toe and was on crutches at the time. (I remember clearly how hard it was getting around then, and how determined I was to get to the production and see him.)  I managed to get backstage and found him as sweet, friendly and open as ever. Interesting, Mary, to hear about his role as a Spaniard! Kay, I was sure you were going to wrote something about him. Glad to see you did.


09/02/14 06:02 PM #8    

Kay Rahmlow (Reinhart)

When I stopped by the high school last summer on a whistle stop visit I saw the theatre, now called the Frank Laycock Memorial Theater. I assumed (wrongly) that it was so named as Mr. Laycock had departed for good. So I was delighted to learn that not only was he still alive, he was still teaching and we had missed seeing him by minutes. I told the office ladies to tell him I was there, that he would remember me. They assured me that was doubtful. Outside the theater there are photos of students who became professionals-- Chip Zien, (the late) Dan Mooney, lots more and I wanted to see Bobby there but he was not. I told the office and should have written/meant to write. If it isn't there when we visit, I really want to do something about it. Hopefully, it will be there but...thoughts? 

09/05/14 03:13 PM #9    

JoAnn Yampol (Rohyans Md)

Bobby was a neighbor and a friend.  You always knew he'd be an actor.  Unfortunately, as I left Wisconsin for college and then marriage, I lost track of him.  I'd love to see or learn more of his successes as an actor.  If anyone has any "Bobby" memorabilia, please bring it to the reunion to share or post on this site.  

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