Broadway Stage Supervisor For Judy Garland Was 95 – .
Paul Phillips, whose long career as Broadway stage manager included working on such notable productions as Sweet Charity, Mame, Chicago and, in 1967, the now historic Judy Garland at Home at the Palace, died of natural causes in Naples on December 5th. Florida. He was 95 years old.
His death was announced by the publicist Harlan Boll.
Phillips was born in Pleasantville, New York. He joined the U.S. Coast Guard and was used to fight in the South Pacific during World War II. After the war, he moved to Hollywood for an acting career, but soon returned to New York, where he moved from acting to Broadway stage management with Fiorella from director George Abbott in 1959.
Abbott brought Phillips on stage to direct his next play, Take Her, She’s Mine (1961) with Art Carney.
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Phillips’ next show was the short-lived production of The Rehearsal by producer David Merrick and a 1965 downtown Guys and Dolls revival.
In 1966, Phillips was asked by Gwen Verdon, who would become a lifelong friend, to direct Sweet Charity, which was directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse. Phillips stayed on this show until it graduated the following year. At this point, Garland’s husband and manager Sid Luft asked him to stage Judy Garland at the Palace on Broadway home.
Subsequent Broadway credits include Mame during Ann Miller’s 1969 stint and a 1970 revival of The Boy Friend with Sandy Duncan.
The director-choreographer Fosse recruited Phillips for his new show Pippin in 1972 and Chicago in 1975 at Verdon’s request. After Chicago closed, Phillips Stage directed the Broadway production of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and the 1983 Broadway revival of Mame with Angela Lansbury. His last Broadway credit was the short-lived 1984 play Open Admissions, which Phillips served as stage manager for shows at the Claridge Hotel in Atlantic City until he retired in 1986.
In addition to Broadway, Phillips Stage has directed numerous touring and summer stock productions over the years, including shows with artists such as Charlton Heston, Groucho Marx, Ethel Waters, Don Ameche, Tallulah Bankhead and Billie Burke.
Phillips remained Verdon’s closest friend and companion until the actress died in 2000 and accompanied her to her numerous appearances, including the Ed Sullivan Show, performances at Lincoln Center and the Tony Awards.
Upon retirement, Phillips moved to Naples, Florida, where he was a founding member of TheatreZone, a professional equity theater group. He remained on the Artistic Advisory Board of TheatreZone until his death.
Phillips is survived by three nieces and a nephew. No services were announced. Instead of flowers, donations can be made to the TheatreZone in Naples, Florida.