Tributes Honor Council Cargle, a Prolific Detroit Actor Who Died This Week

January 05, 2013, 9:31 AM

Council Cargle, one of the region's best-known theater actors, has died.

Cg!SmCargle had film roles in Quentin Tarantino's "Jackie Brown" (1997) and Arthur Marks' "Detroit 9000" (1973), writes Rochelle Riley of the Free Press. But his greatest roles -- and his life -- were lived in the theater. For more than six decades, he performed on dozens of southeast Michigan stages, where he created unforgettable characters and inhabited roles in ways that inspired fellow actors, delighted directors and wowed audiences.

He was an actor's actor, who was as gracious with his fellow thespians as he was with co-workers in 36th District Court, where he was deputy clerk for Judge Denise Page Hood before retiring 20 years ago.

Cargle died Wednesday afternoon. He was 77 years old. But no one believed that. He was ageless and timeless as he established a 60-year career that wasn't over. He was planning to audition soon for a new role at the Detroit Repertory Theater -- the stage where he performed most and where he met artistic director Bruce Millan, 50 years ago.

He graduated from Northeastern High School in Detroit and Wayne State University, according to his LinkedIn profile. He performed several times with Plowshares Theatre Company, starting in 1990.

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Council Cargle in 'The Whipping Man,' a Plowshares Theatre Company show.

Gary Anderson, producing artistic director at Plowshares, knew Cargle since 1988 and posted a poignant 10-paragraph tribute Saturday as a Facebook essay.

Council’s remarkable talent was unmatched. His insight and warmth made every experience you were blessed to have with him . . . a treasured opportunity.

Anderson says they planned to collaborate again this spring on "Gem of the Ocean," a drama by August Wilson set in the Hill District of Pittsburgh during 1904.

Plowshares member John Sousanis of Southfield, sales analyst and director of information content at WardsAuto, comments under Anderson's note:

"Council was a real treasure. We were lucky to have him here and to experience his consistently moving and professional work for so many years. And he had a way of generating palpable sense of connection with the actors he worked with that made every ensemble he was part of even better. He'll be greatly missed."  

Cargle's credits also include two TV movies: "The Elevator" (2001) and "Word of Honor" (1981), his Internet Movie Database page says.  

  • Broadcast coverage: WXYZ will have a segment on Council Cargle during "Spolight on the News" at 9:30 a.m. Sunday (Jan. 6). 
  • Read more:  Detroit Free Press and Deadline Detroit

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