2018-06-04 15:45:08 UTC
Last night I googled up the late-sixties group the Buckinghams, of "Kind of a Drag", "Hey, Baby", "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" and "Don't You Care" fame. I discovered that drummer Darryl Warren had died March 26 of this year. I had not known that he later had a career in comedy, and also appeared in the film "Return to Me".
His obit is quite interesting:
Darryl Warren was a longtime Chicago actor and comedian who got his start in show business playing congas and drums with the Chicago-based band the Buckinghams.
“He was a great drummer, musicologist and linguist and it was all self-taught,” said comedian Tim Walkoe, a longtime friend. “And he got into improv and acting, and he was very successful. Had he started earlier (in his life), he would have been a real star.”
Warren, 72, died on March 28 at NorthShore Skokie Hospital, said his daughter, Stella. A longtime Rogers Park resident, Warren had been battling congestive heart failure, diabetes, hepatitis and liver problems, she said.
Born in Covington, Ky., Warren was the son of a burlesque dancer who moved her family to Chicago when Warren was just an infant, his daughter said. Warren grew up in Uptown and attended Senn High School. He left school at age 15, and he worked a variety of jobs in his early years, including as a caterer, bartender and linoleum salesman.
“Darryl just hustled and worked his butt off,” Walkoe said.
Warren also taught himself to play drums and congas, eventually playing with the Buckinghams.
In the 1970s, Warren took acting and comedy classes at Chicago’s Second City from famed comedic teacher Del Close. Among his classmates was future “Saturday Night Live” star, actor and screenwriter Tim Kazurinsky.
“Darryl was a happy, handsome troubadour,” said Kazurinsky, an Evanston resident who was part of a group of old friends who ate breakfast together with Warren for the past two decades. “He had a hard upbringing, but he always had a smile on his face and something positive to say about everybody. He was really a sweet man, with a great attitude.”
As an entertainer, Warren was hard to classify, said musician and actor John Garvey, who studied with Close alongside Warren and later was in a comedy troupe with him, the Klein Family, and then in a band with him called Rio Bamba.
“He was so unique and you couldn’t put him in a bag of any kind or a category,” Garvey said. “And he was so easy to deal with. He never made you feel like you were being compared to anybody or that there was an expectation of anything. So he was very relaxed and he made everybody working with him feel relaxed.”
Garvey stressed Warren’s comedic acumen, which Garvey likened to that of a jazz master.
“I would call him the Miles Davis of humor,” Garvey said. “Like Miles Davis, who didn’t play a lot of notes, Darryl was a genuine jazz cat in humor. He could always produce a short quip or something comedic that would be simple but very powerful and impactful.”
Richard Henzel, who also worked alongside Warren in the Klein Family, said Warren “always could bring you up out of a bad mood.”
“He said the most hilarious things,” Henzel said.
Former Second City music director Jonathan Menchin, who founded the Klein Family, said Warren’s humor “would go places where nobody else would go comically.”
“He made people cry with laughter,” Menchin said. “And he loved the arts — he had an appreciation of painting and music. He was very proud of being a connoisseur of the musical and visual arts. He was a guy who touched a lot of people and in a lot of arts.”
Always based in Chicago, Warren later was part of the Stein Family comedy troupe, which was something of a successor company to the Klein Family. Warren also performed in local theater and also appeared in countless TV commercials and modeled in many print ads.
In 1989, Warren was part of the cast of the Organic Theater’s performance of the legendary Chicago play “Bleacher Bums.” Other theatrical and comedic roles included appearing in “Moe Green’s Other Eye” at the Annoyance Theatre in 1998, Second City’s “Earth on a Platter” in 1992 and in the Court Theatre’s production of “Happy End” in 1989.
Warren was a friend of Judy Royko, the widow of the late Tribune columnist Mike Royko. In 2007, Warren wrote a play based on several of Royko’s best columns, called “Royko.” The play received a public reading at the American Theater Company, with Gary Houston playing Royko, and several other notable actors, including Kazurinsky and Will Clinger, participating.
Warren also acted on TV and in film, including a notable turn as a former priest in the popular 2000 film “Return to Me.” Warren also appeared in the 2008 sports film “The Express” and had a guest role in one episode last year of the TV show “Chicago P.D.”
“He loved to work,” Stella Warren said. “He loved working and keeping busy.”
Warren, who was divorced, is also survived by his companion, Sally Biagi.
A memorial service will be held April 30 at Pub626, 1406 W. Morse Ave., Chicago.