Michael Keena Louden, an actor best known for his work on daytime soap operas, died on Sept. 4. Cause of death was not released. He was 40.
The Marblehead, Mass., native always wanted to be an actor. As a child, he would perform his own renditions of “Saturday Night Live” sketches for family and friends. Louden studied theater at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and at The Juilliard School. He made his professional debut playing the Dauphin in “King John” at the New York Shakespeare Festival in Central Park.
In 1988, Louden moved from stage to the small screen when he landed the role of Ian “Duke” Kramer on the CBS soap opera “As the World Turns.” His performance earned him a Soap Opera Digest Award nomination in 1991 for Outstanding Male Newcomer. He also played Kenny Reed on NBC’s “Another World,” and walk-on roles on ABC’s “One Life to Live.”
Louden appeared in several films (“The Langoliers,” “Space Cowboys”), but returned to the theatre in the mid-1990s. He played Lucio in “Measure for Measure,” starred as the title character in “Timon of Athens” and tackled Lenny in Harold Pinter’s “The Homecoming.” Louden’s final performance was in “Three Feet Under,” a play produced by Lily Tomlin in Los Angeles last month.
September 10, 2004 by
Michael Keena Louden, an actor best known for his work on daytime soap operas, died on Sept. 4. Cause of death was not released. He was 40.
Michael was a fine human being, an excellent actor and an inspiration to all with whom he came into contact. He was truly a unique individual, and he will be sorely missed. Michael, from all of us, we miss you and will love you always. May your soul rest in peace. -Sean Kevan
I performed with Michael at UNC. He was such a fun, passionate performer and human being. His acting style was unique.
He made a tremendous impression on everyone he met. He will be missed.
One of the most caring, genuine, loving souls I’ve ever known. Had HUNDREDS (I mean hundreds!) of friends that were touched by that special energy and kindness and are reeling from the loss. I can’t believe I saw Michael’s 2nd to last performance – the last Friday of 3 Feet Under – it was a blast, I’d never seen Michael act before and I was blown away. What a talent ! We’ll remember our very, very dear and sweet friend Wednesday 15th. We miss you terribly and will never forget you ! R.I.P.
A wonderful, beautiful person. I am but one of the hundreds that Michael touched, and am blessed that I was able to know him, and call him Friend.
I posted this tribute to Michael Louden on The Sacred Fools Tightcircle here in Los Angeles last Friday. I think my words express exactly how I felt about his talent and his unique, sweet qualities. His passing was far too soon and just tragic. He died too young. His true friends know how much he loved the arts and they all appreciated his wit, his insights, his intelligence and his kindnesses.
I just wanted to thank everyone for their kind words about Michael Louden both on this Tightcircle and also, in emails to me. I am very touched by those who commented on Michael’s really wonderful and gifted acting talent. Knowing him as well as I did, I know how honored and incredibly humbled (yes, Michael did possess a humble side) he would feel.
We dated for over three years but as of late May, I was no longer his “girlfriend” but we remained very good friends and talked at least 3 times a week. We only lived a block away from one another too. His passing is a shock to me and also, sad. Simply put: I will miss him. We shared a lot of funny, wonderful, tempestuous, happy, sad, loving, frustrating times… and yes, we even shared a mutual love of rabbits (he took in and became the “bunny slave” to four of my stray rabbits who he named after Shakespearean characters… which was sooooo like Michael). And I can truly say that every single moment I ever spent with him has tremendous meaning to me. I feel genuinely blessed to have known him for the length of time I did.
I have not been able to individually inform too many people because I simply did not have the time to do so and I really felt his family deserved my immediate attention. I have been helping his family arrange his affairs. On Saturday they will escort his body home to Marblehead Massachusetts where he grew up and spent so many great times. Michael’s formal funeral will occur on September 12 (this Sunday). His mother has told me that his funeral will touch on the joyous and not the somber. She will have Beatles music played (Michael’s favorite band) and focus on his love of acting.
My other reason for seeming somewhat quiet regarding Michael’s death centered on DUBYA 2004. I felt I needed to be “present” as a cast member and assistant producer for DUBYA 2004 which just opened tonight. I credit this show and its entire cast and crew for keeping my spirits up. More than anyone can ever know, this show and the Sacred Fools community literally kept me from breaking into tears this past week and wallowing in my own sorrow. And also, I can truly state that Michael would never have wanted me to fall apart when 18 other cast members, several producers, an overworked but dedicated crew and frazzled director need me to keep myself together. Michael was a “lifer” in the business… he loved to act and acting loved him. I went on with the show… and I am very very happy I did.
Michael passed from this world on September 2. His death was an accident and really, it was sad because it removed from the world a very unique, funny, ironic, smart, cute (yes, very cute), sweet, and yes, eccentric (he knew this about himself more than anyone else) person from our lives. There are still those at Sacred Fools who remember his performances in Timon (I did not see it… my loss) and many Crime Scenes. Michael was a very proud actor and he told me how much he loved doing all of these things at Sacred Fools… which says a lot about the Sacred Fools as Michael was never one to mince words. He also considered many of you who are reading this a friend. Truly.
And yes, there will be a Los Angeles memorial for him sometime after October 5th (his mother’s request as she will be attending this and could not meet any earlier date). A very good friend, Josh Farden, is already helping me plan this and we will definitely let people know who would like to attend. If any one reading this feels like helping coordinate this memorial, please let me know. I will welcome your support.
Again I thank you all for being a part of his life and also, for your concern.
Very truly and sincerely,
Lisa Anne Nicolai
i wood like to say michael was a good friend. i will miss hem.
As Michael’s brother, I must say that seeing and reading tributes from those who knew him personally & professionally gives our family comfort knowing that he was loved and respected by so many others.
I will not use Michael’s death to canonize him. He was very creative and talented and certainly marched to his own drummer but sometimes as a little brother he was a pain in the butt! I will share one anecdote that I told at his eulogy this past Sunday. As a young kid, Michael became obsessed with Star Wars. He was about 12 years old when the original came out and he was the bad sterotype of the shy, somewhat withdrawn science fiction nerd that saw the movie many times and could recite all the dialogue verbatim. His small bedroom was filled with models and diorama from the movie. He had al the figurines, C-3PO, R2 D2, etc. He used to wear a Darth Vadar mask. Since I was 2 years older, it was my job to toture this overly sensitive nerdy kid. I would crash his model of the Milinium Falcon into things and have C-3PO doing unnatural things to our sisters Barbie doll. Being older (and of course more sophisticated than him) ,I collected figurines of the U.S Presidents. I had them all displayed on a 3 tiered shelf on my bureau in my bedroom. To get back at me, Michael rigged my doorknob by tieing a piece of string to the to shelf where my Presidents were displayed. When I would open my door, the Presidents, shelf and all would collapse on the floor. My sisters would referee as I chased him thru the house.
Our 1st hint that Michael was destined for bigger things was when he was in high school and made his “Mr Bill” film which was just as good as anything we saw on Saturday Night Live. Michael of course did all the voices. I can still him saying “Oh Noooooo” as Mr Bill was run over by our Volvo station wagon.
Michael’s bright star burned out too quickly and he’ll be forever loved and missed by our family.
I just heard of Michael’s passing and it made me so sad. I knew Michael years ago when I was one of the assistants in his agents office. He used to come in on his roller blades, so cheerful and handsome… giving gifts of tiny hand painted soldiers and homemade beer at Christmas. I just wanted his friends and family to know he touched many lives, and I’m so sorry for their loss. He was a nice man.
I didn’t know Michael personally. I was an avid As The World Turns fan when he appeared on the show in the early 90’s. He had a refreshing
take on his character of Duke. I felt like he was not only a good actor but a genuine person.
I was bartending a party he and actor Larry Bryggman attended in honor of an opening of a play
they were doing together (1991). Michael was cool and friendly. I remember thinking what a great life he must have, starring in a soap and an off Broadway play in NYC. Judging from the above tributes, I was right. God Bless you, Michael.
My name is David Quantic and I directed Michael in my UCLA graduate thesis film, Garden of Eden, in the summer of 2002. Our relationship has been friendly ever since, catching up from time to time.
I always thought Michael was a very sesitive and caring person. He even brought his bunnies to set with him during our Los Angeles filming dates. He also insisted on bringing his teddy bear to location when we shot my film in Kansas and he constantly took pictures with his digital camera. During the production, I would get frustrated with his childlike fascination with the camera, but, a year later when I needed photographs for press kits, he gave me more than 500 digital stills that he had saved — some of them are quite beautiful and I’m sure, as a former photographer myself, that he probably could have been a wonderful photographer if he had put his mind to it.
If anyone is interested in seeing my film, or, if you would like a copy to remember Michael by, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and mention Michael in the subject line and I’ll try to honor the requests. Michael has the lead role. He plays a struggling artist/drifter who tries to convince his college girlfriend to leave with him to California.
I’ll miss you Michael. Thank you for all of your hard work and good energy.
I am one of those people who could be described as “eccentric”, as Michael was described as in an earlier post. We’re a beautiful community, and Michael was so well loved by all of us “eccentrics”.
We knew him differently than others knew Michael, but belive me, he was just as wonderful a friend and human being with us as with all who knew him in his professional life.
He was brave enough to invite us to his plays, and I saw two of them. He was a wonderful talent, surely to be missed in the stage community.
He will be just as missed in our community, which is often made to feel unwelcome at formal memorials. I certainly hope that we will be welcome at the tribute in LA, which I am now informed is Oct 13 instead of the 7th, so we can add our voices to the tribute he deserves.
Michael’s loving ‘sister’ and fellow ‘eccentric’.
I recently worked with Michael in my play at the Evidence Room Theatre. I love and miss him so much. i will write more of this remarkable man later. REMARKABLE. The man was so remarkable. And I am still grappling with his passing. All the love in the world to you Michael. All of the love in the world.
Hello, I knew Michael Loudon when he and I were living in a big old hollywood house with other actors, (on Wilton Place) maybe 3 years ago. Although I did not get to know him well, I appreciated his dedication to the craft – and also his tenacity in everything he did. He had the “actor thing” going on, that’s for sure. And you did not want to have any kind of argument with the guy! He was a trooper!
To all his friends and family,
I knew Michael during my time in NYC as both an actor and a playwright from 1988-91. We spent many an afternoon just hanging out in Central Park creating and inspiring each other’s talents. We later met up in Los Angeles where I lived there from 91-2001 as a working screenwriter. Michael would sometimes critique my work. He was someone who’s opinion I respected and trusted. He was also gentle soul with a good heart.
In 1994, Michael attended my wedding in NYC. I am very lucky that I have a picture to remember him by. I also have one other picture that brings back a small memory. From my e-mail address (email@example.com) you can deduct I’m a huge NY Yankees fan. My family has season tickets and our box seats were right behind the Yankee dugout. I took Michael and some other friends to an afternoon game and I remember how excited Michael got attending his first baseball game in Yankee Stadium…in great seats! I don’t even think Michael was a baseball fan but for that day, he was like a small child. I still have a picture of us at that game. Amazing.
I now live in Atlanta, Georgia. I hope someone could contact me through e-mail with a number to either his family or Lisa Anne Nicolai so I could give my proper condolences and find out more info on the memorial.
Thank you for reading and G-d bless Michael’s soul.
Richard “Rick Clements” Cohen
I first worked with Michael in 1991 in “The White Rose” (the Off-Bway show mentioned above). We became friends and I spent Thanksgiving with the Loudens in Marblehead. We fell out of touch when I moved to L.A. but then he re-appeared in my life in “Major Barbara” at South Coast Rep. He was still Mr. Technology, although he’d graduated from the crude electronic organizers of the 90s to Apple G4 and iPod, and I don’t know what else. When he wasn’t sharing his DVDs with the cast backstage he was drafting e-mails and provoking debates about the enormous web of conspiracies going on EVERYWHERE…He got me thinking, if nothing else, and many times in conversation I’ve said, “Well, I have this friend who believes the Bush Administration is actually…” (fill in the blank).
He was a good writer too. He had that knack of capturing the controlled hysteria that Michael Moore and other folks need to have in order to get heard at all.
Although he had his quirks, and we don’t need to enumerate them here, I felt he had an underlying consistency to his personality. After not seeing him for some ten or twelve years, he was the same steadfastly good-natured, generous, loyal person he’d always been.
And he was always a powerful actor. He could reach tears or rage without effort. He had comedy in his bones. He had the ability with language that a great stage actor needs, and he had the extra gift of being adept with dialects.
Anyway, I guess I’m writing this partly for myself, because his death has troubled and saddened me. I’m grateful to have the chance to express my feelings in a cyber-public way. So, to whoever set this blog up, thank you.
Michael was a man, take him for all in all, we shall not look upon his like again…
I met Louden, as I always called him, in the early ’90s at Cucaracha Theatre’s legendary Underground Soap in New York. In this late night comedy show, he gave some of the funniest, most over-the-top performances I’d ever seen. Louden had a Charlton Heston obsession and he had a sort of cabaret act where he would make himself up as the great man (Louden had a wonderful old-school actor’s love of makeup) and read from Heston’s published diaries in an absurd Heston voice. It was achingly hilarious. Louden was also something of a tech geek. He’d used some of his TV money to buy all this video equipment and I once spent a hilarious day shooting a parody of an MTV music video with him and my friend Bob Sikoryak for the Underground Soap show. I remember he actually owned some sort of mini-Steadicam harness and he had an editing console in his apartment. The day we edited the tape he showed Bob and me a video of his actual TV “soap” days (his character was a heartthrob boxer) and a home video of him and some friends pranking a guy delivering Chinese Food by opening the door in a Darth Vader mask. On the tape the poor guy actually freaked out and ran away. Practical jokes always make me nervous so I thought this crossed the line, but c’est la Louden. We performed together in a crazy adaptation of Faust by my friend Todd Alcott where I played Mephistopholes, a woman played Faust and Louden played about a dozen supporting parts. He was an excellent drinking buddy and possessed a well of show biz trivia to rival my own. His enthusiasms were infectious.
I hadn’t seen him since he moved to LA a few years ago.
Last month I was in London and was browsing at an open air, second-hand book fair when I came across Heston’s diaries. Remembering how funny Louden was interpreting Heston’s self-important prose, I bought the book. I returned to New York two weeks later and Todd Alcott told me that Michael had died.
He loved life and those of us who were lucky enough to work and play with him are enriched by the experience. Rock on, Louden.
I first met Michael when I was 21 years old. I was up in New York, looking at Julliard. He was introduced to me as the senior hotshot
I will miss Michael, but I hope for him that’s he’s in a place where he is fulfilled and satisfied. I worked with Michael on David Quantic’s film Garden of Eden. He was an interesting and uncommon soul to me. The two of us would go out after we shot and aquaint ourselves with strange little bars in Nowhere, Kansas. I’ll never forget it. His depth and passion of life and work is the memory I will always hold. All my best Michael, Avery Clyde
I just learned about Michael’s death today, when I saw it on the Obituary board at Actors’ Equity in New York. It still seems inconcievable that someone so young and full of passion and talent could be gone. I first discovered Michael in the “King John” in Central Park. We looked at him standing next to the beautiful girl playing the Spanish Princess, and gasped “He’s prettier than she is!” Then we saw him in a stage fight and were blown away by how exciting he was. I was at that time getting ready to cast a staged reading of a play I’d written called “Conquistador Aisle”, in which I needed a young man with passion, humor, grace and good stage-combat skills. I got in touch with him through his agent to see if he’d consider doing the show, and to my delight he accepted. He mastered the complex stage fight (It involved rapier-and-dagger, quarterstaffs, shortsword-and-buckler vs. net and trident, and hand-to-hand combat) brilliantly, and gave us a memorable and charmingly eccentric performance that I’ll always remember. He was fresh out of Julliard at that time – very cocky and arrogant and ambitious as hell – and wonderfully likeable. I’ll miss him sorely.
Dear Friends of Michael Louden,
I have read the lovely posts regarding your impressions and experiences of Michael’s life. I so glad that so many people remember him with such fondness and also, humor. Michael was one of the most unique people I have ever known. A true individual with his own way of looking at life and people.
I wanted to tell you all that his memorial is OCTOBER 13, 2004 at THE EVIDENCE ROOM in LOS ANGELES at 8:00pm. It will celebrate his life and will not focus on sorrow. If you would like to attend please email me and let me know. Thanks.
Peace be with you all.
Michael directed a little play of mine that was on one Tuesday at the Workhouse Theatre when the Workhouse Theatre was still around. He directed the thing, which was called “A Canadian Lies Dying on American Ice,” with appropriate doses of humor and solemness and we had a lot of fun and smoked some cigars when it was over. This was in New York, a bunch of years ago. He had a real big personality, did Michael, was a very thoughtful guy with a lot of heart and a lot of brains. He could joke with the best of them, good with the voices and impressions, could let the air out of all the Hollywood moviestars. He spoke often and with a lot of love about his mother, and would tell me about trips up to Marblehead, news from Massachusetts. Some other people, in this forum, have spoken to the contradictory feeling that I am feeling, which arises out of the contradictory thought: Such a lively guy, to no longer be alive. It is very sad. I don’t really know his LA gang, but I hope that they are well and are taking care of each other, and I send my condolences to his family, as well as my assurances to them– though I am sure they have no doubts on this score– that Michael was a good good man.
I wanted to thank every person who came to the Los Angeles memorial on October 13 2004 at The Evidence Room. These special friends and loved ones created such a warm and comforting atmosphere last night. I know some of you wanted me to post the poem I read towards the end of the evening. Here it is:
He Is Gone
by: David Harkins
You can shed tears that he is gone
Or you can smile because he has lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that he will come back
Or you can open your eyes and see all that he has left.
Your heart can be empty because you can
I just can’t believe it. Michael was just a wonderful, passionate, persuasive, talented, funny, caring human being. Shortly after meeting me at a 9-5 job, he came to a small 20 seat playhouse to see me act, though he’d done theatre in playhouses 100 times the size. And guess what…he was the ONLY one in the audience. We decided to cancel the show that night and just go get drinks. True to the spirit and friendliness of Michael, he CAME BACK when the audience was bigger! that will always stick in my mind. The world lost something special.
I was out of town traveling and I have only been back two weeks. I saw our other neighbor last night, who asked me if I had heard the news about Michael. Of course, my heart soared because I knew Michael was such a go-getter the news would be good.
I am extremely saddened. I did not know Michael as a professional, I knew him as very caring neighbor. His passion was absolutely catching and he was the sort of person that when I was moving out to travel, showed up to help clean and kept me company (and kept my very low spirits up) by chatting. He’d stop in when I was sick to see if I needed anything. Living in proximity to him was an adventure, and a welcome one for me. He brought a lot of sunshine, excitement and wild energy into my life at a low point. I appreciate that more than I can express. Just knowing how he navigated Hollywood and survived it was inspiring.
I was really looking forward to seeing after my “sabbatcial” from L.A.
I hear his bunnies went to a home where they were much welcomed and very embraced. I know the people in Michael’s life would have never allowed otherwise (far from it!) and just the knowledge that his cherished pets are somewhere making two kids very happy gives me a lot of comfort.
I suppose we all have to relinquish all the good ones in the end. But selfishly, I will miss him.
Cheers, Michael. Now I know why you laughed at me when I if you had turned thirty yet. Thanks for being a good neighbor in a town where most people don’t care.
Thanks for making it a bit better for the rest of us.
My name is Kelly Pickering and I am Michael’s younger sister. I just wanted to let you all know how much I have enjoyed reading your tributes to Michael. Between all the memorials for him and these messages, I have found some comfort and been able to deal with his death a little better. I can’t believe how many people knew Michael and that he touched on so many lives. From the west coast to the east and down to Carolina, you all have shared such wonderful thoughts about him. I feel now that I am getting to know him somewhat better after reading all the tributes. The stories have made me laugh and cry but now knowing how many people cared about him, makes me feel better. Michael was one of a kind and we all have our own Michael story. This accidental early departure from his life is such a shame and I’m hoping time will help to settle us all. It has been very hard on our parents and constant reminders of Michael (I hear the Beatles on the radio all the time now!) don’t seem to help. I still don’t feel like he is gone for good. I’m still expecting him home for Christmas and staying up his crazy late hours and sleeping all day. I’m not sure when reality of his death will set in, but until then, I take it day by day. My family appreciates all the kind letters and emails-thank you all for sharing.
Reading the words folks have shared about Michael on this blog has been helpful to me, and I wanted to share MY words … I read this at the Memorial Service for Michael at Juilliard, October 23, 2004
I remember two tall, puppyish, talented young men, that I was graced with meeting my Freshman year at Chapel Hill. We were all theatre students, we did a play together. I dated one, and flirted with the other. Things were different back then, weren
You forgot to mention that he hosted Arena for one season on the G4 TV network.
I worked with Michael on Cymbeline at A Noise Within. He used to entertain the dressing room by reading from Charlton Heston’s memoirs (quite an impersonation). I only heard about his death last night, and must admit have not seen or heard from him in years, but am still filled with sadness and confusion. Were Michael and I good friends? No. And yet I can remember very vividly his voice, his face, his humor, his spirit. I don’t quite know why. He made an impression. He lived. God bless him.
I met Michael in 1981 when I cast him as Alan Strang in EQUUS. He was 17 at the time. He was brilliant in the role and helped launch a non-professional theatre company (Mugford Street Players.) Today, in fact, his picture from that show graces the front page of the arts section of our local newspaper, as we celebrate our 30th anniversary season.
What I want to add here is how touched I am to read the wonderful, eloquent and deeply felt comments above. Michael connected. He is still connecting.
And what wonderful friends he had!
I heard about Michael’s passing only last night, through an acquaintance who was cast as his replacement in a recent production at ANW.
I had not heard from him since I worked with him in ANW’s production of “Cymbeline” in 2000. And yet this touches me. I too remember his boyish energy, his friendliness, his willingnes to talk to and advise a newcomer. And, of course, his Charlton Heston “readings.” (I could never watch Chuck afterward without thinking of Michael and smiling.) I know if he made such an impression on me, an actor who worked with him so briefly, then the sense of loss among those who knew him better must be profound.
Also, thanks to you Lisa, my fellow intern at ANW, for your updates here.
Im Christopher Hennelly I met Michael during a musical that my lover Christopher Vassilades and friend Andrew Joffe wrote about the life of Ed Wood called “Grave Robbers Over Hollywood. Michael’ singing as well as comic timing always had me on the floor…sometimes while trying to do the scene on the stage with the little bastard (lol) he deliberetaly would break me up.
I also remember that I would see him with his a macintosh note pad with a cigar in his mouth checking out some chick that he just met.
I also remember packing him and his beloved “Snuggles The Bear” from New York as head west to chicago than hollywood.
He looked great as hot studded man and he could also wear a leather skirt that would put Christie Brinkly to shame.
I also remember his love of his family and his wicked sense of humor..oh yeah and conspiracy theories that sometime were correct.
Many a time he would crash with us in New York and I was just glad to have such another loving and warm soul in our home.
His early passing in life just means hes upstaged himself.
To his family and fellow freinds my sorrow of your loss is profound. Im not sure God will know what to do with him in heaven, cause he’ll tell God how to run the joint better.
I will miss you my freind.
Pax Et Bonum
I went to high school with Mike and graduated with his older brother Chuck. Mike was a great guy and very funny. We acted together quite a few times at the Prep. He’ll be missed. My heart goes out to his family. I’ll miss you Mike.
Michael was my first roomate when I moved to Los Angeles. He took me under his wing and helped me adjust to my new surroundings. He was the most brilliant actor I have ever met and an even better human being and friend. I will never forget the things he taught me and I will never forget the joy of life he expressed every day.
I’m going to miss you Mike. An awful lot.
We had just started rehearsals for THE HOMECOMING at A Noise Within in Glendale. The third day, Thursday, he didn’t come to rehearsal nor had he called…Friday, still no Michael…Saturday, the same. No word. No answer when he was called. This was totally out of character for him to just vanish. I had an awful feeling of dread. He and I had talked about a bunny that he was looking for up around where he lived in Beechwood Canyon. Someting moved me to drive up the canyon and…what? I don’t know what. I went into the little market there expecting to see him walking on the street or shopping. Crazy, I know. While paying for a purchase there in the market a woman came up behind me and said to the checker: “Did you hear about Michael?” I said Michael who? She said “Michael Louden. He hanged himself.” It turns out this lady was his neighbor…she told me where he lived and I drove there…police tape up around the property. I called the people at the theatre and told them what I’d found out. What a tragic loss. What a special man he was. I had played his father in SKIN OF OUR TEETH at A Noise Within a few years ago. Michael and I had a couple of really difficult highly dramatic scenes that had to be played for absolute honesty (in a play that was pretty much over the top a lot of the time). He was totally secure and commited and very moving. When I heard he was going to play Lenny in THE HOMECOMING I was delighted. I saw him in CYMBELINE and in a production of A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC a few years ago. He was very magnetic on stage and a pleasure to watch. I liked him from the moment I met him.. So professional…and so off the wall and original. Everyone at the theatre who knew Michael feels a great loss and saddness. None of us knew of the memorial service or we certainly would have been there to celebrate the life of this artist. It is nice to read all the posts here…and I’m honored to add mine to the growing list.
Michael and I worked together in a production of THE THREE MUSKETEERS at the Indiana Repertory Theatre. It was the fall of 1988 and Michael had recently graduated from Julliard. He was playing the part of D’Artagnan. I was the Equity deputy on the show and Michael came up to me one day and asked me if I would give him some advice. Since I was playing Athos I was the perfect choice to seek advice from. He had been offered a soap opera and had a dilemma about whether he should leave THE THREE MUSKETEERS to do the soap opera. I told him that he could always do a soap opera but that he may never get a chance to do D’Artagnan again. He chose to stay with THE THREE MUSKETEERS which was a real plus for the show. This production was directed by Larry Arrick and was a very funny, satiric take on the play which had the musketeers dancing to Michael Jackson’s BEAT IT when the King’s Guard were about to arrest them. Also, D’Artagnan didn’t have a horse, but a skateboard which Michael handled with great aplomb. I was constantly astonished at his acting talent. He had a tremendously rich imagination and more nerve than any actor I’ve ever worked with. He was like Robin Williams. As a matter of fact he told a story about Robin Williams, who had also gone to Julliard. Michael, while a student at Julliard, worked the switchboard. He told about how Robin Williams would call the school, out of lonliness, just to talk to someone. To me it was a very moving story of Robin Williams staying in touch with the time in his life when he was starting out as a young performer. Michael remembered Robin calling from the San Diego Zoo one time where he had taken his children.
As happens in our business I didn’t see Michael again for years. I was working out at the Bally Club on 20th Street and 6th. Avenue in New York City when someone came up and said hello to me. It was Michael. I said: “Oh my God. Michael, how are you?” He smiled and said he was doing fine. I knew him by his face, but the slim young kid I remembered playing D’Artagnan had now become this very buff man. It must have been 4 or 5 years ago. I think at that time he was doing some computer job on Wall Street or something of the sort. It was his survival job. I thought if Michael Louden has to work a survival job we’re really in a bizarre business. He was an irrestible human being, enormously gifted and I was shocked to read of his death in the recent Equity paper. Requiscat in Pace, Michael.
I have often thought of Michael over the years and wondered how his life was progressing. For some reason today, I decided to do a search for him online, and I was stunned at what I found. I had no idea what had happened to him over seven months ago.
Michael and I met when I was playing Jill Mason opposite his Alan Strang in “Equus” many years ago in Marblehead. I was immediately drawn to him. We became lovers and best friends for over a year. We continued our friendship long distance after he went away to Chapel Hill and he was instrumental in my continuing my education at Chapel Hill a year later.
Michael has had a profound and positive influence on my life. He taught me that anything is possible, that I should never take no for an answer. He had to be one of the most determined and ambitious life forces I’ve ever met. As he did with Jennifer Deer who followed me, he broke my heart. And yet I’ve never stopped loving him.
The last time I saw Michael was in the spring of 1986, when I was in New York to audition for the URTA’s. I was walking past Lincoln Center on my way to stay at the Westside Y. Someone walked by and called out my name. It was Michael, just heading home from a class at Julliard. He said he and his girlfriend lived around the corner, and he kindly invited me to stay with them. What a happy coincidence.
Until today, I was unaware that for the last few years he was living only a few miles away from me in Los Angeles. I would love to have renewed our friendship. It’s heartening to see what wonderful friendships he has made in his brief life. Bless you all for being his friends.
Happy Birthday, bunny-daddy. We miss you and hope you are happy and at peace.
Your sweet bunny-kids
Today Michael’s family scattered some of his ashes on Nantcket Island where we all spent many happy summer times. Michael loved the photgraphic beauty of the island and sandy beaches and shores so that spreading his ashes and casting wild flowers into the ocean around Brant Point seemed fitting and appropriate.
Michael, your spirit lives on and your family thinks of you every day!
I think of you every day as well…
This weekend is the anniversary of your death. We will mark the event by spreading some of your remaining and seemingly never-ending ashes at Grace Olivers Beach. Kelly and I will get our families together and have lobsters in your honor. Even the kids seem to enjoy a good lobster! I would have a cigar in your memory but gave up smoking when I got pregnant with Kasey. God I wish you could have met her just once, she really is my miracle baby and the light of my life. This past year has been brutal for all of us, but the kids keep us focused and give us reason to stay strong. Mom has been hurt the most. I’m sure you know she was always your biggest fan, never gave up on you and truly misses you every day. Thankfully she is a strong woman and has the support of many friends and family. We will all help her to move forward. Wherever you are, know that you are loved and missed. Please do what you can to help the Democrats come up with a viable option in the next election, I can’t bear the thought of President Jeb Bush.
On behalf of Michael’s memory, I donated to OPERATION USA to help aid those who survived HURRICANE KATRINA. The donation states “In Memory of Michael Louden” Rest in peace, Michael.
I am just now finding out that Michael Louden passed away in 2004. I thought at first there
must be some mistake. He was so young and full
I was the 1st camera assistant on GARDEN OF EDEN,
a film directed by David Quantic, starring Michael. I hope that you all take a look
at this film; of all the movies I’ve worked on,
this is my personal favorite.
I didn’t know Michael personally, but I recall
that he was kind to everyone on the set. I
remember seeing him reading a book between scenes,
and it was about George Bush Jr. and the really
terrible things he was doing to civil liberties.
Michael was perceptive, intelligent and very
talented. I’m very sorry to hear he is no
longer with us. I’m glad I got to spend a
few weeks with him.
Los Angeles, CA
I’m in absolute shock. It’s 2 days short of the second anniversary of his passing, and I’m just now finding out about this.
I must have been all of 14 or 15 years old, and an acting student at the High School of Performing Arts, when my mother dragged me to see the Juilliard performance of “Othello”. Here’s the odd part-I opened the playbill, scanned the performer photos, and Michael’s kind of jumped out at me. I thought to myself, “Sensitive, intelligent, nerdy. Just the kind of boy I’d like to date!” And I wasn’t expecting it, but the production blew me away. Michael played a brilliantly nuanced, villainous Iago to Andre Braugher’s Othello. I’ll never forget that performance as long as I live. I now had a minor crush on him, to boot:-)
I attended the performance of “King John” at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park that summer, and was so happy to see him in the show-he was starting to make his mark on the theatre world.
After the performance, I waited outside the backstage entrance to get my first-ever autograph. When Michael came out, I told him I’d seen ‘Othello’, and told him talented I thought he was. He was bemused that someone HAD actually seen Othello, and was more than happy to sign, as he explained to me, his first-ever autograph request.
When I started working at the Public Theatre in NYC a short time afterwards, it turned out my boss Kim was his girlfriend, and we all wound up hanging out a few times. We once went to see “The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen” movie. I remember afterwards that I asked them, teasingly, when they were going to get married. (They both went “Blecchhhh!” simultaneously.)
I also remember when he got picked up by the soaps-what an exciting time that was. He was cocky, brash, talented, and he knew it.
Some other little things I remember about Michael…
He told me he would base some of his character studies, as well as performances, on…Bugs Bunny.
He had a friend that was a mutual fan of the band ZZTop, so in one of the episodes of “As The World Turns”, he did one of ZZTop’s signature dance shimmies, knowing his friend would see the episode, recognize the move, and flip out.
I attended his birthday party at he and Kim’s apartment on West 47th Street in NYC, and played “Pin The Tail On The Donkey”. (My mother actually remembered that one.)
I went to college and lost touch with him and Kim, but did a Google search a couple of years ago for Michael, and was happy to see he had found a theatrical community to call home on the West Coast.
I did a search today, and…tears.
I enjoyed reading up on this tribute board what Michael was up to in the almost 20 years since I last saw him. It brought back some little things I’d forgotten (like Michael’s nervous habit of running his hands through his hair!). And hey-I remember ‘Snuggles The Bear’, too!
I’m really happy to see that he was still the same sweet, opinionated, funny, talented guy that he always was.
Rest in peace, Michael.
It’s been two years.
Still thinking of you, Buddy.
Still missing you.
Wow, I just found this site but I have known about Mike’s passing. I met Mike in Cedar City, Utah at the Shakepearen festival wow! It was 1987 an awesome night. We went to the cast party together and then went back to his place! The performance was great! I truly miss him and think of him often! I miss him greatly!
Still thinking of you.
I still miss you.
You will always be remembered Michael. You have touched many. I truly enjoyed watching you at what you loved. My heart goes out to your family and friends…
I knew Michael very briefly. I was cast (in a very small part) with him in “Much Ado About Nothing”.
I was in my final year at U.C.I. during this time and would look forward to (the veteran) Michael’s nonsensical insightfulness. We would talk about everything wacky and shared an interest in anything inventive and original. He was, at the time, involved in a very thick biography of Charlton Heston. The beauty of this was he seemed (to me) nothing like what I would consider a Charlton Heston fan to be. Always unpredictable!!! He would bring the book to rehearsals and performances along with a dumbell set, so we could “pump up” before a particular scene in which we were sleeveless.
Michael was very generous. He gave me a lot of ridiculous, but fun, professional advice. He also gave me a copy of the book “Black Hawk Down”. I think I will read it now.
I feel a more complete artist and human being having known Michael. The world was a better place with him here. There are people I have known my whole life that have impacted me less than he did in those few months.
I think about him quite a bit and miss him dearly.
You are missed my freind. Still see ya holding your snuggles bear while your were moving one to many times. Thanks to your family who loved you so, thanks to his miriad of freinds who believed in you. Thanks to the bunny rabbits who kept you company in the coldest of the hollywood hills. Eternal Rest Grant unto him oh lord and may he bring to you the laughter and love that he gave to us here on earth.
Pax et Bonum
It’s been three and a half years, and scarcely a week goes by when I don’t think about one of the most talented, original and funny human beings I’ve ever met. Choco-boy, you are sorely missed!
It is hard to believe that we all lost you four years ago. I hope your spirit is resting or knowing you, flying to some unknown and unique realm. Hotspur-bunny is still with me and has a lovely new companion named Star.
With the elections coming up, I wonder what you would have thought of all of the candidates… what witty and candid remarks you would have made. And Hotspur-bunny is still with me and he has a wonderful little bunny-wife named Star. You take care of yourself… wherever that may be….