Robert (Bob) Patterson, 72, of Brooklyn, New York, passed away on May 8, of cardiac arrest, while at the Hopkins Center for Rehabilitation & Healthcare in Brooklyn, where he was in physical therapy recovering from pneumonia.
Patterson was the founder and owner of The Patterson Studio in New York City, an acting studio dedicated to teaching a refined acting process he had developed over the course of the studio’s 45-year history.
Patterson taught acting at the same location in New York City’s Upper West Side since 1973. He studied directly under Sanford Meisner and applied Meisner’s work through a successful career as a stage actor, before making the decision to devote himself exclusively to teaching acting.
Over the course of more than four decades, Patterson built upon Meisner’s work to develop a complete way of working that was taught nowhere else.
His passion for the craft of acting was monumental and unwavering. “You can’t teach acting in an app,” he said. “It is a skill that must be learned.”
One of the Patterson Studio’s most famous alumni is actor Ted Danson, star of TV shows such as Cheers and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. But Patterson had many lesser-known students, including several from the Brandon, Vt. area where he taught a summer studio.
In 2017, Patterson came to Brandon for the summer to teach at the Compass Center and he hoped to come back this year to teach again.
Edna Sutton, director of the Compass Center said for Robert, acting was definitely a craft.
“He taught method acting, which requires significant discipline and can best be thought of as a master – apprentice relationship, which not all aspirant actors are comfortable with,” she said. “But having watched his introductory class here at the Compass Center, he was very effective with those students who could accept this approach.”
Sutton said Patterson loved working with young people and ran a class in 2018 for the Rutland Theater Youth Group. Patterson had a house on Lake Dunmore and came every summer.
“He really hoped that his class would take so that he could eventually spend more time here,” Sutton said. “He loved the Compass Center and all that we are trying to do and he often came just to visit.”
Patterson is survived by his son, William Patterson, his daughter-in-law Sarah Patterson, his grandson, Brennan, his brother Richard (Dick) Patterson, his wife Yvonne (Bonnie) and numerous nieces, nephews, and great-nieces and nephews. A memorial service for Mr. Patterson will be held in the Sanctuary at Brooklyn First Unitarian Universalist, 119 Pierrepont Street, Brooklyn, NY on Friday, May 17, at 3:00 p.m.