Deborah Lynn Brown, 39, actress taught drama at two Baltimore County schools

February 05, 1997|By Robert Hilson Jr. | Robert Hilson Jr.,SUN STAFF

Deborah Lynn Brown never wanted to be the star of the show. She never wanted to make a grand entrance.

All she wanted was to enhance the performances of other actors in a show -- to make sure they wore the right makeup, exerted the proper flair for a role, and never forgot their lines.

And she did it well.

"She was always very, very precise about everything in a production," said Cheryl Pasteur, her longtime friend and principal at Old Court Middle School, where Ms. Brown taught drama before her death from cancer Thursdayat Maryland General Hospital.

Ms. Brown, 39, had worked as an actress, director and makeup artist, among other behind-the-scenes roles, for area stage productions for nearly 20 years.

Since the early 1990s, the West Baltimore resident also had taught drama at two Baltimore County middle schools -- most recently at Old Court Middle, Ms. Pasteur said. "She had a way of working with children. She was a wonderful director and had a knack of transferring her energy to children," Ms. Pasteur said. "She always did her homework and was always prepared."

A native of Baltimore, Ms. Brown was a 1975 graduate of Western High School, attended Hampton University in Virginia, and, in 1980, received her bachelor's degree from Morgan State University, majoring in drama.

Until 1994, she had been an operator for Bell Atlantic while working as an actress or part of a production crew in locally produced plays.

At Arena Players, she had roles in such plays as "Good Black, Don't Crack" last year, "Killings-worth" in 1992, "Ella's Place" in 1991, and "Divine Comedy" in the 1980s. Performances at the Encore Theatre in Northwest Baltimore included roles in "Black Girl," "The Gospel Truth" and "A Woman From The Town."

From 1994 to 1996, she worked as a drama teacher at Sudbrook Magnet Middle School and began at Old Court Middle in the fall.

In 1993, she directed the play "Detention" at Arena Players. Darryl Wharton, its author, said Ms. Brown was very thorough in her work. "She handled everything effortlessly," he said. "She liked to work with the actors. She worked well with the cast and made sure all of the transitions went well."

In April, Ms. Pasteur said, Ms. Brown performed in "Good Black, Don't Crack" at Arena Players while on pain medication for her cancer treatment.

"I don't know how she did it with all of that pain," Ms. Pasteur said. "She'd forget lines and create new lines while onstage. The other actors adjusted to it and the play still turned out just fine.

"She was just determined to perform well."

Services were held yesterday.

Survivors include her parents, Dr. Ernest O. Brown and Loraine Brown, and two sisters, Carla Brown and Wanda Brown. All are of Baltimore.

Pub Date: 2/05/97

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