To thousands of budding thespians, Carl Samuelson was a kind and caring father figure.
Samuelson and his late wife Elsie partnered with drama coach Jack Romano to found Stagedoor Manor, a performing arts camp in Loch Sheldrake, N.Y. Performers who trained at the camp include Josh Charles, Jon Cryer, Robert Downey Jr., Jennifer Jason Leigh, Mary Stuart Masterson, Mandy Moore and Natalie Portman.
The 2003 film, “Camp,” was loosely based on director Todd Graff’s experiences at Stagedoor Manor. It was filmed on location and featured a cameo of Samuelson.
Prior to launching the camp in 1975, the Bronx native worked in advertising, real estate and Hollywood marketing and promotion. In the 1990s, he produced several South Florida theater productions, such as “Annie Warbucks” and “Me and My Girl.”
Samuelson died on April 20 of natural causes. He was 77.