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Jeffrey Nelson

LIANNA crew. Jeffrey is top row, third from left

LIANNA crew. Jeffrey is top row, third from left

Our friend and colleague Jeffrey Nelson passed last week- he was instrumental in starting the careers of many actors, writers and directors.  Jeffrey ran the Eastern Slope Playhouse in North Conway, New Hampshire in the early 70s, giving work and support to actors such as David Strathairn, Gordon Clapp and Geena Davis.  I acted and directed there as well, and remember what a great environment he helped to provide.  It was Jeffrey who suggested, when I’d just started writing for the movies and was making some money, that since ‘we know so many good actors’ we should make our own film with them in it.  That led to me writing and directing Return of the Secaucus Seven, which Jeffrey produced.  None of us had any movie experience, probably a good thing, as we were able to base both the work and the business on gut feelings of fairness and common sense rather than ‘industry standard’.  Jeffrey was co-producer with Maggie Renzi on our second film Lianna, and went on to produce for TV, including a long stint at the Children’s Television Workshop.  He was as lucky in family and friends as he was unlucky in health, and will be missed for his intelligence, good humor and humane manner of dealing with people. – John Sayles

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