In Memoriam: Andrew Latherow

Weiferd Watts/Courtesy

“Wise.” “Incredibly talented.” “Genuine.” “Determined.”  “Best hugger ever.”

This was Andrew Latherow, as his friends saw him. Andrew was that goof who would just bust a move on the dance floor. He was the undercover guitar virtuoso. He was the one with the eyebrows of a god and could use them to their full potential while acting (a true talent!). Andrew was the guy, who once he started to laugh, you were defenseless — you wanted in on that happiness.

It was surreal when news spread that last weekend, my friend, recent Berkeley grad and fellow theater student, Andrew Latherow had unexpectedly passed away. After attending a memorial service this last Saturday held by the UC Berkeley Department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies, and talking with many members of the theater community on campus, it’s been a comfort to see how Andrew was such a source of vitality and infectious happiness to those he encountered.

I had the honor of doing an acting scene with Andrew a few years back. We were able to bond over the fact that we were new to Berkeley: He was a transfer student from Bakersfield and I was an awkward freshman. Andrew had to play an over-bearing, obsessive husband. Obviously, he wasn’t typecast for this scene. But playing such a role so opposite of his own personality showcased how transformative his acting was and how he was such a generous actor who didn’t reject the unimaginable. Never did I see any sign of an ego cloud his sincerity.

Berkeley had the great fortune of seeing Andrew grace the stage several times, in shows such as “Our Town,” “Romeo and Juliet” and “Creating the World You Live In.” Eli Wirtschafter, who directed Andrew as the Friar in “Romeo and Juliet,” said, “The friar is the one person everybody can trust…[and] is the only person who listens to all of the characters [in the play]. Only Andrew could have played that role.” As current UCB senior, Langston Brand stated, “Andrew was always there to have a one-on-one conversation with people…and was so caring.”  This attention to others is what made Andrew such a talent on stage.

Andrew never took the present moment for granted. A theater grad and friend Lauren Parsons shares her  memories: “He treated life as if he were always in the right place at the right time. [He was] very in the moment and very present…I always appreciated that about him.” His presence in a room was undeniable. “He was sweet, you know? Really good-hearted. He was such a gentle guy,” said theater classmate, Devon Roe.

Andrew, you will be greatly missed for your patience and generosity, those sweet dance moves and the love you were always willing to share with others. Rest in peace, my friend.