film and TV actor Keith Douglas Pruitt was found dead in his Greenwich
Village apartment on Wednesday, November 12, 2008. Police responding to
pleas from his family entered the apartment to find him on a living room
sofa. Initial autopsy reports indicate that he choked to death. He had been
treated for esophageal problems stemming from a home fire in which he was
badly injured last year. Further results are still pending.
City, Kansas born (October 12, 1961) Pruitt was something of an anomaly in
the world of classical music as he supported his composing career by acting
in film and soap operas such as “As the World Turns” and “Loving” among
The son of
inventor/engineer Norman Wallace Pruitt and Emma Jean Thompson Pruitt, he
was raised in Annandale, Virginia and graduated from Falls Church School as
valedictorian and was drum major for the school’s award winning band.
attended Duke University as the recipient of the A.J. Fletcher Scholarship
for Piano. He was winner of the Duke University Concerto Competition and
graduated summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa. He received a fellowship to
attend the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and a full scholarship to
the City University of New York Ph.D. Program where he studied with Pulitzer
Prize winning composer David
compositions have been commissioned and premiered by the Florida
Philharmonic, the San Jose Symphony, the New York City Ballet, Pascal Rioult
Dance Company, the Guggenheim Museum‘s “Works in Process” series, the Cowles
Charitable Foundation, the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, the New York
Chamber Ensemble and the Cape May Festival Orchestra.
supported his musical ambitions by starring in a number of New York based
daytime dramas including The Guiding Light and As the World Turns as “Frank
Wendall” and Loving as “Flynn Riley”. It also allowed him to introduce his
music to a wide television audience.
during his stint on the latter show that he and a male companion Jacques
Rosas, holding hands on a Greenwich Village street, were savagely beaten by
a trio of young men who shouted anti-gay epithets as they beat the pair with
golf clubs. Pruitt and his partner would not have the matter swept under the
shroud of corporate communications and participated fully in the prosecution
of the men which resulted in their being convicted and sent to prison.
He was also
featured in the John Waters’ movie Hairspray playing the lead singer of a
rock band and as the lead in Carlo Nero’s film, Larry’s Visit.
years ago, he founded the Keith Pruitt Piano Studio where he taught gifted
young New York area students both performance and composition. Mr. Pruitt is
survived by his mother, Jean Pruitt and sister Melanie Pruitt of Annandale,
Virginia, a brother Steve Pruitt and nephew Craig Pruitt both of Buffalo,
Celebration of his life will take place at Shop Studios, 442 West 49th
Street on Thursday, November at 6pm. In lieu of flowers the family has asked
that donations in his memory be made to Classical Action, Performing Arts
Against AIDS, 165 West 46th Street, Suite 1310, New York, New