Monday, December 04, 2006

Farewell to a Friend.

I'm holding off on the Walter Wrenchall piece today because I just wanted to say farewell to Philip Kraus. Philip passed away on October 21, but I only learned of his death this morning.

Some of my friends may have heard me speak of Philip in the past...he was a gentleman of the old school: an elegant and hard living actor with style, poise and grace. They don't make 'em like that anymore. For many years he worked in New York City, doing big market voiceovers and "small" acting jobs on stage, movies and TV. At some point, if you watched TV at all during the last 25 years you would have seen or heard Philip Kraus.

I always looked forward to a day when a recording session with Philip was on the calendar. When he took the mike, we were guaranteed of putting out top notch-work, which always made our clients happy.

In our description of Philip's voice, we wrote "smooth warmth and sophistication" - that was him to a T. He once told me that a director said to him: "Phil, you got a voice that either says Darien, Connecticut or U-boats"...and it was true- Philip's voice could radiate either incredibly effete snob appeal, or the cold hearted aristocratic sneer of a crack submarine skipper. The only thing Philip couldn't do was normal.

Philip was a consummate professional, and took what ever he was doing seriously... it didn't matter if was a national voice-over for a major brand, or a spot for a local theater company.

More than that, a recording session with Philip meant the chance for a great visit with a friend. It was easy to sit, listening in wrapped attention, to Philip's fascinating stories of his days in New York as an actor and voice-over artist. As a younger actor and producer, I got insights into the business from Philip from which I will profit for the rest of my career.

We had fun discussing his passion for aviation and there was also usually a little time to talk about history, and engage in a round of Churchillian quotations.

And of course, there was always a little time left over to talk about our families. Philip knew my fiancee, Bobbi, because her job requires her to travel often. He took a great pleasure in squiring her through the Burlington airport and making sure she was well treated.

Anyway, I will really really miss hearing the sound of Philip's voice. He was a class act, and we won't see his like again.

Here's a collection of outtakes with Philip.

10/27/2006 PHILIP H. KRAUS CHARLOTTE: Philip H. Kraus passed away Oct. 21, 2006. Born May 10, 1949, in Springville, N.Y., he pursued careers in acting, broadcasting and aviation. He eventually relocated to Westport, N.Y., where he met his wife, Liesel. Philip will always be remembered as a loving husband, a brother, an uncle and an aviator. We love you always and forever. Surviving are his wife, Liesel Kraus of Charlotte; brother Keith Roy Kraus and wife Elsa M. Kraus of Clifton Park, N.Y.; sister Loni Jean Kraus of Fulton, Mo.; two nieces Elaine M. Kraus and Dawn M. Rosenthal of Clifton Park. A private family memorial will be held on Oct. 28. A memorial for friends will be held at a later date. Contributions in lieu of flowers can be sent to the Charlotte Library, P.O. Box 120, Charlotte, VT 05445.


sajesqnyc said...

Thirty years ago this year I was a 16 year old actress interning at Center Stage Theater in Baltimore Maryland. On the main stage that year was Merchant of Venice starring Michael Gross and Philip Kraus. For some reason (owing largely to a bald faced lie about my age) Philip took a liking to me and asked me out I'll never forget that very grownup evening out, and a kiss in the cab. I still have a newspaper clipping of Philip from that production, which I ran across today prompting me to google his name. I was so sad to hear of his untimely death. I well remember his grace and elegance. He wrote me a letter, with my name on the envelope under which was Yale 1983 (I had just gotten into Yale). Inside was one of the loveliest most gentlemanly letters, signed 'with affection and admiration' from a true gentleman, whose kindnesses to a young girl remain imprinted on my memory.

I saw him once again when I came into New York, my freshman year at Yale, and saw him in Bent (in which Michael was also featured).

Thank you for this blog entry as it is very much the Philip I remember.


sajesqnyc said...

Correction - it was Measure for Measure in Baltimore, just double checked the clipping.

Funny, always had that as Merchant in my memory ...

Anonymous said...


don't know if you'll stop by this way again, but if you do, I just wanted to thank you for dropping by.

I enjoyed your story very much- Philip was a class act to be sure, and he is missed.



DNBursky said...

Do you happen to know how Philip died?

Unknown said...

Philip died of heart failure. He had massive myocardial infarction.