Longtime Trinity Rep member passes away at 81

By News Staff

Reporting by Liz Tufts


The local theater community is mourning the loss of one of their own Monday night. Trinity Repertory Company announced that veteran stage performer, Barbara Meek, passed away suddenly on Saturday at the age of 81.

Meek is best known for her role as Ellen Canby, the maid, on Archie Bunker’s Place, but her true passion was inside the doors at Trinity Rep in Providence, on that stage where she performed in more than 100 productions.

"She was just the greatest lady and we are going to miss her," said Curt Columbus, the Artistic Director at Trinity Rep. Her sudden death hitting hard for her family at Trinity very hard. "A great human being, a great light and a great friend," he continued.

Columbus spoke with Meek the night before her passing, and says she was working up until a week before her death, "She was in Julius Caesar and was with us just a couple of days before she passed."

Meeks was born in Detroit, but her passion for performing brought her to Trinity Rep. in 1968. Columbus says she was the most versitile actor he’s ever met.

"She was in Christmas Carol for 15 seasons, and literally played every single role," he said.

She inspired younger actors and actresses every day, helping them fine-tune their craft.

"The greatest gift that Barbara left behind was that kind of incredible work ethic."

Even though the curtain came down for the final time last week, Columbus says her career was far from over, "She led an incredibly rich life, but she wasn’t done."

Meek leaves behind one daughter. A wake is being held Monday in Providence and she’ll be laid to rest Tuesday. Columbus says they’re planning a memorial service in her honor at the theater in the future.

© WLNE-TV 2015