Ritchie M. Spencer, USC School of Theatre associate professor, director of production and head of costume design, died May 7 after a long illness. He was 67.
Active to the very end, Spencer continued a full schedule of teaching, including supervising student designs, as well as designing the costumes for “Company,” the spring musical presented at the Bing Theatre last month.
Spencer joined the USC faculty in 1976, designing the costumes for “Sweet Bird of Youth,” the inaugural production at the Bing, starring guest artist Dorothy Maguire.
School of Theatre Dean Madeline Puzo said, “We are filled with sorrow at Ritchie’s passing. Throughout his extraordinary 30-year career at the school, he taught and trained many talented artists and established a standard of excellence in design of which the school is very proud. He was a committed teacher and artist who loved the school, his students and the theatre. We will all miss Ritchie immensely.”
Prior to USC, Spencer headed the costume design department at Ithaca College and also worked in costume design at Bard College. In addition to the Traphagen School of Design, he attended the Arts Students League and the University of Hawaii.
Spencer was a member of the United Scenic Artists, Local 829 (New York). He was resident costume designer at the Seattle Repertory Theatre and Center Stage in Baltimore. Prior to that, he held the assistant to the costume designer position at APA Phoenix Theatre in New York.
While serving the USC School of Theatre, he continued to design costumes for independent motion pictures, commercials and stage productions.
A memorial service is being planned for the fall.
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