June 20, 1930
Memphis, Tennessee, USA
|Died||January 11, 1998
Memphis, Tennessee, USA
Ellis Rabb (June 20, 1930, Memphis, Tennessee – January 11, 1998, Memphis, Tennessee) was an American actor and director who in 1959 formed the Association of Producing Artists, a theatre company that brought new works and noteworthy revivals to Broadway and to regional theatres. The APA merged with the Phoenix Theatre in 1964 and as the APA-Phoenix went on to mount Broadway revivals of Man and Superman, The Show Off, Right You Are If You Think You Are, and Hamlet (in which Rabb played the title role) among others, with the APA-Phoenix receiving a special Tony Award for distinguished achievement prior to disbanding in 1969.
Rabb’s subsequent work as an actor included starring in the New York premiere of David Mamet's A Life in the Theatre in 1977 at Off-Broadway's Theatre de Lys and in 1980 he played the title role in The Man Who Came to Dinner at the Circle in the Square Theatre.
His later directing work included a 1973 production of A Streetcar Named Desire, starring Rosemary Harris (to whom he was married from 1959–1967), James Farentino, and Patricia Conolly; a memorable production of The Royal Family in 1975 for which he won both a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award, and a 1983 revival of You Can't Take It with You with Jason Robards and Colleen Dewhurst. His final Broadway production was his own adaptation of Arthur Schnitzler's The Loves of Anatol.
Rabb appeared in Cheers playing an imaginary spy and then a poet in the episode "The Spy Who Came In For A Cold One". He was unmasked as the former by Diane Chambers and as the latter by Coach. Former Cheers star Kelsey Grammer has stated that Rabb, whom Grammer had worked for, was his main inspiration for the character Sideshow Bob on The Simpsons.
- Allan, Marc. "17 Reasons to Turn On the TV". Nuvo Magazine. Retrieved 3 August 2011.
- "Kelsey Grammer On Playing Sideshow Bob On "The Simpsons" - CONAN on TBS". YouTube.
- Gussow, Mel. "Ellis Rabb, Actor and Director, Is Dead at 67". New York Times. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
- Ellis Rabb at the Internet Broadway Database
- Ellis Rabb at the Internet Movie Database
- Ellis Rabb papers, 1930-1995 and undated, held by the Billy Rose Theatre Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts