Mark Rucker, one of the Bay Area’s leading theater directors, has died. Rucker, 56 years old, was the associate artistic director at San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater (ACT) for five years.
He was found dead in his apartment Tuesday.
Rucker worked closely with ACT’s Artistic Director Carey Perloff, who called him an incredible artist, and “such a beloved colleague.”
Rucker directed many shows at ACT, including one of the company’s most widely praised recent productions, Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play.
In an interview Wednesday morning, Perloff said Rucker will be especially missed by students in the theater’s Master of Fine Arts program.
“He gave the students a great feeling of self-worth, and a great feeling of optimism about this profession of ours which can be very challenging, and very hard. And they really did their best work for him.”
“He did a Cherry Orchard last fall that was so exquisite,” Perloff said, “it was the best Chekhov I’ve ever seen. Really.”
Rucker worked as a freelance theater director for 20 years, doing plays with nearly every major Bay Area theater company.
He also directed the 2003 classic camp film “Die Mommie Die,” a vehicle for the playwright and actor Charles Busch. The film won the special jury prize for outstanding performance that year at the Sundance Film Festival.
The cause of Rucker's death has not been released as of the time of this story's publication.