Edgar Oliver

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Edgar Oliver (born October 31, 1956[1]) is an American stage and film actor, poet, performance artist and playwright. Born in Savannah, Georgia, he has lived and worked in New York City since 1977.[1] He is considered a "legend" of the downtown New York theatre scene and is known for his distinctive accent and diction.[2][3][4]


Oliver first started performing in New York City at the Pyramid Club in the mid-1980s. Notable New York City productions include his roles in Edward II with Cliplight Theater and numerous productions at the Axis Theatre Company including A Glance at New York (which played at the Edinburgh Festival) and his autobiographical one-man show East 10th Street: Self Portrait With Empty House, which enjoyed an extended run with Axis.

His film credits include the Independent Spirit Award-winning The Jimmy Show and the multiaward-winning Henry May Long. He appeared in the Jared Hess film Gentlemen Broncos and had the leading role as a Futurist performance artist in the comedy feature That's Beautiful Frank. He is also a frequent storyteller at The Moth.

As a playwright Oliver has frequently been produced at La MaMa ETC, most notably the 2000 production of his play The Drowning Pages starred Deborah Harry (of Blondie fame).[5]

Oliver has published two poetry collections: A Portrait of New York by a Wanderer There, Summer, and the novel The Man Who Loved Plants.

Oliver has also gained cult fame appearing on the Science Channel series Oddities and was notable for his line "Is that a straitjacket?",[6] which was featured in the show's promos. He now hosts the spin-off show Odd Folks Home.

On November 26, 2011, Third Man Records released a tricolor 45 RPM single of his "In The Park". Only one hundred and fifty copies were produced. Fifty were sold at Third Man Records in Nashville, Tennessee, and 50 at Obscura in New York. Fifty copies were mailed at random out to those who ordered the unlimited black vinyl version.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

At a live The Moth event, recorded on January 25, 2006, and titled "The Apron Strings of Savannah",[7] Oliver told the story of how he and his sister Helen escaped their eccentric mother by running away to Paris using their trust money from their deceased father. Mother, as she was referred to by Oliver, kept her two children living with her and would run off chasing them in her car when they tried leaving. They ran away the first summer after they started at George Washington University. On April 30, 2011, at The Moth, he related further adventures of his, Helen's, and a friend's when in Morocco.[8]


Critical studies and reviews[edit]


  1. ^ a b Brantley, Ben. "So Inviting, That Dark at the Top of the Stairs", The New York Times, February 16, 2009.
  2. ^ Edgar Oliver Interview at Papermag.com[dead link]
  3. ^ East 10th Street - Self Portrait with Empty House Axis Theatre Company
  4. ^ Jackson, Sharyn. "Positively 10th Street: Edgar Oliver's East Village", The Village Voice, February 4, 2009.
  5. ^ Ehren, Christine. "Deborah Harry Reads Oliver's Gloomy Drowning Pages May 6-14 At La MaMa", Playbill, May 6, 2000.[dead link]
  6. ^ Oddities: Is That a Straightjacket?, Discovery.com, November 3, 2010.[dead link]
  7. ^ Oliver, Edgar, "The Apron Strings of Savannah", The Moth, January 25, 2006.]
  8. ^ Oliver, Edgar (April 30, 2011). "Courting Paul Bowles in Tangier". The Moth. 

External links[edit]