Stephen Colbert paused his late night show The Late Show with Stephen Colbert January 5 to eulogize Frank Galati, who taught Colbert at Northwestern University. The writer-director passed away January 2.
Said Colbert; "He was an amazing teacher, an inspirational figure for those of us who were lucky to work with him at all, and a brilliant director. He taught me things, in the short period of time that I knew him, that changed my life, changed the way I approached my work and what I wanted out of my professional and artistic life, and really gave me the confidence to think of myself as an artist for the very first time. I will always be grateful to him for the generosity of his spirit."
Additionally, Colbert shared previously unseen footage from October 11 of a conversation between him and John Lithgow, where the pair discussed Mr. Galati during a commercial break.
In the conversation, Colbert quotes Mr. Galati, sharing a lesson he had taught the class; "For those of us in the theatre, we sometimes make light of the fact that some people who aren't in the theatre come backstage and they say 'Oh, how do you remember all those lines?'. And he said, 'How do you remember all of those lines? Let's not take for granted that there is something magical about that. You've changed something in yourself. People don't sit down and memorize two hours of text. You did. Why did you do that, and how did you do that? What are you when you go onstage? Are you you? What is the other thing that you are becoming? How are you presenting yourself to the audience, what are you willing to become to be this person who wants to present ideas and emotions to an audience? How do you become beautiful? The beauty of the world we see all around us, when you go onstage, you answer the accusation of the world, which is that you are hiding your beauty. The beauty of the world accuses you of hiding your beauty. When you go onstage, whatever you are, whatever part of humanity you are, you are just as much a part of the world that you find beautiful. Therefore, when you are on stage, you are as beautiful as any statue, you are as beautiful as any sunset. Will you allow people to see you beautifully?"
Mr. Galati was a two-time Tony winner, an Oscar nominee, and a member of the American Theatre Hall of Fame. He is survived by his husband, Peter Amster.