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Arts & Entertainment

RIP Fran Bascom, 86. Worked on 'Days of Our Lives,' 'Lou Grant,' 'Designing Women'

Actor Barry Cutler
Actor Barry Cutler
John Rabe

Actor and Off-Ramp contributor Barry Cutler sent this email to friends this weekend, about the death of veteran casting director Fran Bascom, Sunday, June 2, at the age of 86. According to welovesoaps.net, she was nominated for 15 Artios Awards from the Casting Society of America, including nine for Days of Our Lives, for which she worked from 1992-2007.

I'm jumping to the conclusion that, if you are or were an actor in Los Angeles, especially if you've performed in theatre, you encountered and, at the very least, appreciated this wonderful and supportive woman, Fran Bascom. I know of no other casting director who went out of her way to attend theatre, search out new talent and encourage those she already knew. 

Personally, she seemed to show up at just about every play in which I ever performed in the greater Los Angeles area. Most of the time, when I encountered her after a performance, she was kindly flattering and supportive. But I most fondly remember her approaching me after one play, for which I'd sent invitations, and said, "Barry, you know I love you as an actor and I appreciate your invitations. But please don't invite me to anymore plays as bad as this one." 

She seemed to remember everybody, no matter how many years may have passed. Once, after I'd moved back to NYC for a few years, she contacted me through my last LA agent, offering me a day-player role on the soap Days of Our Lives, but encouraging me to return because she believed it would become a recurring character. And it did. When the salary wasn't enough to cover keeping places in New York and L.A, she - not my meek agent - talked Days' producers into raising my pay.

I'm sure those of you who knew her have more such stories of her kindness and generosity of spirit.

Sadly, Fran passed away last week. Yesterday, I was told that there will be a memorial for her at 10am on Friday, June 14, at St. Charles Church, near Moorpark and Lankershim in North Hollywood. It was suggested that, in Fran's memory, one might contribute to an animal shelter.