Robert "Bob" Louis Hobbs


Robert "Bob" Louis Hobbs
May 13, 1929
July 24, 2017

Robert Louis (Bob) Hobbs, 88, died July 24, 2017 at the family cabin in Maine. Dr. Hobbs was born in Framingham, MA and graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Bates College. He went on to earn an MFA from the University of Washington and a PhD from Northwestern University, where he became a junior member of the faculty. He was married to Elizabeth (Liza) Thomes Hobbs from 1950 until her death in 2014.

Dr. Hobbs was one of the country’s leading acting teachers, developing and running training programs at Duke University, Boston University, Ohio University, and the University of Washington. Along with other master teachers from across the United States, he founded the League of Professional Theatre Training Programs, which set high standards for preparing actors for the challenges of performing a wide variety of roles on the stage, film, and television. He authored Teach Yourself Transatlantic, a text for aspiring performers to learn a stage dialect for heightened language and translated plays.

A highly sought-after master teacher and guest director, he served stints at Carnegie Mellon, the North Carolina School of the Arts, and the Colorado, Champlain, and Virginia Shakespeare festivals. Among the hundreds of professional actors whose careers he helped launch are Linda Emond, Kyle MacLachlan, Richard Karn, Harry Groener, Richard Dean Anderson, Jonathan Freeman, Chuck Cooper, Sean Arbuckle, Claire Lautier, Pamela Reed, David Manis, Kerry O’Malley, Kevin Isola, and Garret Dillahunt.

His innovative and passionate approach to performance inspired many of his former students to become acting coaches as well, such as Ursula Meyer, Alan Rust, Jack Cirillo, Bill Watson, Christine Adair, Tony Carreiro, Silas Cooper, Terry Weber, Liann Patterson, Scott Kaiser, Dan LaRocque, Timothy Threlfall, Lynn Watson, Erik Fredricksen, Janet Maylie and Jack Young. Dr.
Hobbs himself was also a lifelong actor since childhood and he enjoyed playing a variety of roles such as Prospero in The Tempest and Polonius/Gravedigger in Hamlet, especially when surrounded by actors he had trained.

Outside the theatre, Dr. Hobbs was dedicated to social justice. He and his wife Liza spent their early married years promoting racial integration at Hull House in Chicago with the American Friends Service Committee (Quakers). Post-retirement, he wrote and spoke to civic groups about gay rights issues particularly the damage of conversion therapy, and was also a strong supporter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Dr. Hobbs was laid to rest in Framingham near his wife and parents. He is survived by his daughter Rebecca Romaine of Durham, NC, her husband Frank, and grandsons Joseph, Paul, Daniel, and Thomas. He requested no service, but he can be honored by donations to the Southern Poverty Law Center in his name.

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