Sad to report that Jerry Lazar (51) of Tenafly, a popular community theatre actor and founding member of the New Jersey improvisational comedy troupe Lunatic Fringe based in Glen Ridge, died last Friday. According to his wife, Risa Rosenberg, the cause was complications following colon cancer surgery.
Jerry was to star in the Garage Theatre Group of Teaneck’s production of Mark Doherty three-man play “Trad,” scheduled to open next Thursday.
Michael Bias, Garage Theatre’s artistic producing director, described the 6-foot-3, 300-pound Mr. Lazar as a “gentle giant.”
“He was an incredible talent — every year I’d look for something he could be in,” Bias said. “This is so crazy, so sad.”
Jerry performed widely around the NY/NJ area, from regional theater, community theater, to off-Broadway, including Medicine Show Theater Ensemble, 12 Miles West, Shadowland Theater, The Theater Project, Playwrights Theater of New Jersey, and The Garage Theater. In addition to adapting numerous literary works for the stage, he created the original comedy, “Two Big Guys from Jersey,” with his long-time friend, Paul Murphy.
Lazar taught improv comedy to children in Tenafly and was a volunteer in the public schools.
Lazar grew up on Long Island and majored in communications at Cornell University, where he met his wife. They married in 1983.
Mr. Lazar also is survived by his children, Alexander and Katherine.
Services were held Wednesday at Gutterman and Musicant Jewish Funeral Directors, Hackensack. Burial will be at Beth El Cemetery in Paramus. Due to the holiday Shiva will not be held until Sunday. But the family will remain at home from 1 – 5pm and 7- 9pm for visitors.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Tenafly Nature Center, 313 Hudson Avenue, Tenafly, NJ 07670.