Remembering Richmond Shepard

Richmond Shepard in whiteface.

Got sad news from my friend Stanley Allan Sherman, who reports in a heartfelt remembrance that groundbreaking mime Richmond Shepard has passed away.  He was 90 years old at the time of his death and still working, operating a mime studio in his apartment.


I never studied with Richmond, but I think I met him a couple of times, and I am pretty sure I saw something at the Richmond Shepard Theatre, which he operated for over 20 years in NY, presenting a wide variety of theatrical entertainments that included mime, clown, comedy, and legit theatre. I was certainly aware of him, and knew several people who had worked with him.



Richmond's IMDB shot

Richmond Shepard’s IMDB headshot.

While Richmond was well known for his craftsmanship as a performer, he was even more remarkable for his work ethic and his fortitude.  Richmond was constantly “working it.”  He kept on showing up and doing his work and teaching well until his 80’s.  He ran numerous theatres, taught anywhere and everywhere he could, and never stopped working his craft.  And when he was older, passing it down to the next generation of mimes.



Richmond Shepard & Dick Van Dyke

Richmond Shepard & Dick Van Dyke

Richmond billed himself as the World’s Oldest Mime, and created a number of shows and taught constantly over the years.  He appeared on television, including The Jeffersons, Kojak, and numerous television specials and variety shows.  His solo show toured to nearly every major city in North America, and was a fixture at “The Ice House” in Pasadena.


Richmond Shepard and his mime company

Richmond Shepard and his mime company with singing sensation Diana Ross

















The Variety obit has a great line in it from his family:  “In lieu of flowers, Richmond has requested a moment of noise.”  This sums him up perfectly!





In 2016, a  New Yorker video about him and his work from 2016 called The World’s Oldest Mime which captures some of the flavor of Richmond and his dogged pursuit of his work.

There is also a great piece about how mime isn’t dead from 2016 that features Richmond extensively on the website HyperAllergic.  This picture of Richmond Shepard’s company from the 70’s along with Diana Ross is pretty epic.


And you can read the Variety obit here.


His book:  Mime:  The Technique of Silence is available on Amazon.

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