Monday, December 5, 2011

RIP: Jay Moran Dec. 5, 1944 - Oct. 28, 1990

Among the best of best friends. I met Jay in Ann Arbor in 1968. He was working on getting a Doctorate degree in Theater at the University of Michigan; his dissertation was to be called "Hamlet Was A Lady" -- about the many times the character had been played by a female. Jay was a sweet -- no one could be sweeter -- and  innocent soul from Wilkes-Barre, arriving in Ann Arbor with sixteen years of Catholic schooling behind him.  He was easy to shock with a blast of blasphemy, easily appalled by the antics of some of the crowd we ran with. Having come across the jaded likes of me and a guy named Bill Haushalter, who was completing his doctoral thesis on Gertrude Stein's lecture tour of America in the thirties, and my friend, Rodney, Jay learned a lot in a short time.

He had dreams of becoming a professional actor. That did not work out, though he was always associated with theater in one way or another -- working backstage for the Seattle Opera Company for a few years, and then getting a job as a Union Rep with Actors Equity in San Francisco. He used to like to tell me of the various demands made by stars before they'd step foot on this or that stage.

I remember one winter when Rodney and I drove from Provincetown to New York City and spent a night with Jay in his Lower East Side apartment; we were enroute to Michigan. And twice Jay came from wherever he was living to visit us in Provincetown. Wonderful times. As he was leaving after an early-eighties visit he gave me a gift for putting him up -- a small pewter box containing a polished sea shell; I've treasured that beautifully made box all these years:

Jay died in San Francisco in 1990, only 45 years of age. Even when someone I love dies I still never stop hoping that there will be yet another letter or phone call from him or her in my mailbox someday.


  1. Jay was my first cousin. I think of him often and miss him so much. He was blessed with a wicked sense of humor. Years ago, I had a brick paver inscribed with his name added to a patio at King's College in Wilkes-Barre, PA. Jay received his undergraduate degree at King's.

    Cathy Caffrey

    1. Cathy, I hope you see more pictures of your cousin I posted today, 12/5/14. I love that his name is on a brick at King's College.

  2. In 1984, our Union Rep with Actors Equity in San Francisco was a dear sweet generous soul named Jay Moran. He was kind, gentle, caring, generous, sincere, gentle, funny, and overworked. I thought everyone in the Union was like him, genuinely concerned, and ( as corny as it sounds ) willing to make the extra effort to support each of us in our pursuit of our dreams. He was a rare soul in his thoughtfulness. Thank you, Jay, wherever you are in the cosmos.