4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Robert Landis (1921-2014), rest in peace

A remarkable man, with a remarkable role in San Diego theater, has passed.

Robert Landis
Robert Landis

If there were a San Diego theater Hall of Fame, Craig Noel would be first on the list. The second, Robert Landis, passed away last week.

I still believe the imaginary army must have been the greatest fiction of the 20th century. “The results,” says an historian, “indicate that Hitler and his High Command were indecisive about the Normandy landings, believing them to be a feint.” So they held back a Panzer division. And Bob helped save lives.

He was an all-purpose theater person. Always avid about new plays, he co-founded Scripteasers, still active today.

For Footlights, which rivalled the Old Globe in the post-WWII years, he directed, among others, Maxwell Anderson’s Joan of Lorraine and Ben Hecht/Charles MacArthur’s The Front Page.

He acted a bucket-list of plum roles, many for Westminster Theatre in Point Loma: Sir Thomas More, A Man for All Seasons; the Stage Manager in Our Town; the robber/murderer in Rashomon; Cervantes in Man of La Mancha; C.S. Lewis in Shadowlands.

As a playwright: The Canaris Enigma (master spies of WWII, based on his expertise with codes); Anton’s Lovers (the private life of Russian playwright Anton Chekhov); The Illusion Factory (a “dirty-tricks” Presidential campaign), and eight others.

He was working on a musical version of Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities when he died, at age 93.

Robert Landis

The older I get, the more I like to talk to people even older. Not just as scouts for what’s ahead, but as clarifiers for what lies behind.

As is obvious from his plays, Bob read widely and deeply. He had a lifelong fascination with history, which he combined with a passion for travel.

In 1936, he bicycled across Great Britain and through Belgium to Berlin. He attended the German Olympics, where Jesse Owens beat the Master Race’s best to the finish line. Bob was 15.

It was hard to name a major city, on the planet, he hadn’t visited. The darndest thing, well one of them: he never talked like a scorekeeper or a snoot (“upon arriving at Gstaad, we proceeded to…”). He shared his travels not as trophies but as adventures you might like to hear. And he packed them with history. Bob always told clarifying stories.

He was an Elder at the Westminster Presbyterian Church, and served on the boards of the San Diego Symphony, the Museum of Man, and the Better Business Bureau.

And he was San Diego’s biggest Charger fan. During my far-too-rare visits, and lunches at a nearby Italian restaurant, I’d give him the numbers test: #21? Hadl. #19? “Bambi Allworth.” Okay Mr. Smartie, old #76? “Big Daddy Lipscomb, also played for the Colts.”

I learned early never to say a discouraging word about the Bolts in Blue. Though I had to remark that his being such a fan revealed an empyrean ability to forgive.

They say the expression “Renaissance Man” is sexist. Okay, Robert Landis was a “Renaissance Person.” He was fluent in myriad subjects, ideas, and abilities.

But he was so much more than a first-class resume. He was humble, funny, sharp as can be, and struck a remarkable balance between getting a kick out of life and reacting to injustices. He’s often been called “a true gentleman.”

Before she met him, his wife JoAnn vowed never to marry someone who wasn’t “generous and interesting. I got my wish.”

I wish you could have known Bob Landis.


There will be a memorial service at Westminster Church, 3598 Talbot Street, Point Loma, on September 13 at 2:00 p.m.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Jason Mraz: Look for the Good, San Diego Dance Theater: Other Times, Other Places, Young Thug Livestreamed

Events May 20-May 21, 2021
Next Article

Been to Guatay, Buckman Springs, La Posta, Live Oak Springs, Boulevard, Bankhead Springs?

Warner Springs' tragic Indians and modern in-fighting, Jacumba's vanished dreams, odd place on the border
Robert Landis
Robert Landis

If there were a San Diego theater Hall of Fame, Craig Noel would be first on the list. The second, Robert Landis, passed away last week.

I still believe the imaginary army must have been the greatest fiction of the 20th century. “The results,” says an historian, “indicate that Hitler and his High Command were indecisive about the Normandy landings, believing them to be a feint.” So they held back a Panzer division. And Bob helped save lives.

He was an all-purpose theater person. Always avid about new plays, he co-founded Scripteasers, still active today.

For Footlights, which rivalled the Old Globe in the post-WWII years, he directed, among others, Maxwell Anderson’s Joan of Lorraine and Ben Hecht/Charles MacArthur’s The Front Page.

He acted a bucket-list of plum roles, many for Westminster Theatre in Point Loma: Sir Thomas More, A Man for All Seasons; the Stage Manager in Our Town; the robber/murderer in Rashomon; Cervantes in Man of La Mancha; C.S. Lewis in Shadowlands.

As a playwright: The Canaris Enigma (master spies of WWII, based on his expertise with codes); Anton’s Lovers (the private life of Russian playwright Anton Chekhov); The Illusion Factory (a “dirty-tricks” Presidential campaign), and eight others.

He was working on a musical version of Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities when he died, at age 93.

Robert Landis

The older I get, the more I like to talk to people even older. Not just as scouts for what’s ahead, but as clarifiers for what lies behind.

As is obvious from his plays, Bob read widely and deeply. He had a lifelong fascination with history, which he combined with a passion for travel.

In 1936, he bicycled across Great Britain and through Belgium to Berlin. He attended the German Olympics, where Jesse Owens beat the Master Race’s best to the finish line. Bob was 15.

It was hard to name a major city, on the planet, he hadn’t visited. The darndest thing, well one of them: he never talked like a scorekeeper or a snoot (“upon arriving at Gstaad, we proceeded to…”). He shared his travels not as trophies but as adventures you might like to hear. And he packed them with history. Bob always told clarifying stories.

He was an Elder at the Westminster Presbyterian Church, and served on the boards of the San Diego Symphony, the Museum of Man, and the Better Business Bureau.

And he was San Diego’s biggest Charger fan. During my far-too-rare visits, and lunches at a nearby Italian restaurant, I’d give him the numbers test: #21? Hadl. #19? “Bambi Allworth.” Okay Mr. Smartie, old #76? “Big Daddy Lipscomb, also played for the Colts.”

I learned early never to say a discouraging word about the Bolts in Blue. Though I had to remark that his being such a fan revealed an empyrean ability to forgive.

They say the expression “Renaissance Man” is sexist. Okay, Robert Landis was a “Renaissance Person.” He was fluent in myriad subjects, ideas, and abilities.

But he was so much more than a first-class resume. He was humble, funny, sharp as can be, and struck a remarkable balance between getting a kick out of life and reacting to injustices. He’s often been called “a true gentleman.”

Before she met him, his wife JoAnn vowed never to marry someone who wasn’t “generous and interesting. I got my wish.”

I wish you could have known Bob Landis.


There will be a memorial service at Westminster Church, 3598 Talbot Street, Point Loma, on September 13 at 2:00 p.m.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

San Diego's highest paid carpenter, smartest plumber, most moral washing machine repairman

I clean awful apartments, I move divorced couples, I was Vons janitor
Next Article

Santee tosses Mesa Road to county like a hot potato

Mission Trails park is main user but they're not about to help
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close