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LOWE, K. ELMO

LOWE, K. ELMO (27 Aug. 1899-26 Jan. 1971) capped 48 years as an actor and director with the CLEVELAND PLAY HOUSE by serving as its second managing director in the 1960s. He was born in San Antonio, Tex., but raised in Los Angeles, Calif., where one of his boyhood friends was future baritone Lawrence Tibbett. He studied acting at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he worked with FREDERIC MCCONNELL and married fellow student Dorothy Paxton (1900-3 July 1982) of Greenville, Miss. When McConnell was named first managing director of the Cleveland Play House in 1921, he brough the Lowes with him. Lowe achieved a reputation as a matinee idol in the 1920s, one Play House legend holding that they couldn't display his picture in the lobby without its being stolen by female admirers. No one at the Play House seemed to know what the K stood for in his name; even his wife called him "K," and he always called her "Paxton." They often appeared together on the same stage, sometimes playing husband and wife. Lowe appeared in an estimated 300 roles and also began directing, exerting a formative influence on the careers of such Play House alumni as Russell Collins, MARGARET HAMILTON, and Joel Gray. Serving as assistant to McConnell, he also organized the local Federal Theatre Project of the WPA in 1935-36. Following McConnell's retirement in 1958, Lowe succeeded to the post of managing director of the Play House, which he held until his own retirement in 1969. He died at UNIVERSITY HOSPITALS, survived by Paxton and an actress daughter, Stanja.