Actor Hollis Resnik passed away April 17, at the age of 66.
Ms. Resnik was a stalwart member of the Chicago theatre scene, considered by many to be the reigning grand diva of the Chicago theatre and known for her resonant voice and supreme wit.
While Ms. Resnik appeared on film (Backdraft) and television (The Untouchables, Crime Story, The Playboy Club), the regional and touring theatre circuits were her home. Growing up in Euclid, Ohio, she attended Denison University before moving to Chicago. She joined Actors' Equity in a production of Bye Bye Birdie at the Candlelight Theatre, and quickly became indispensable member of the community.
Ms. Resnik was known for her ability to breathe life into strong yet sensitive women, including Eva Peron in Evita at the Candlelight in 1985, Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors at Candlelight in 1986, Edith Piaf in Piaf at Interplay in 1992, Charlotte in A Little Night Music at the Ravinia Festival in 2002, Aldonza in Man of La Mancha at Court in 2005, Edith Beale in Grey Gardens at Northlight, Carlotta in Gary Griffin’s production of Follies at Chicago Shakespeare in 2011, Fräulein Schneider in Katie Spelman’s 2018 production of Cabaret at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora, and Norma Desmond in Porchlight Music Theatre’s Sunset Boulevard in 2019. She won a dozen Joseph Jefferson Awards, the most prestigious award given to members of the Chicago theatre scene.
Ms. Resnik toured the country in productions of Thoroughly Modern Millie (Mrs. Meers), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Muriel Eubanks), Sister Act (Mother Superior), and Les Misérables (Fantine), but always came home to Chicago, where she continued to live following her intended retirement in 2018 (Ms. Resnik "paused" her retirement less than a year later in 2019 to perform as the Wicked Witch in Chicago Shakespeare Theatre's The Wizard of Oz).
Ms. Resnik is survived by her parents Betty and Reginald Resnik, brothers Paul and Mark, and sister-in-law Mary. Plans for a memorial service are pending.