Robert J. Farley, Atlanta theater legend, is dead at 69

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Robert J. Farley, Atlanta theater legend, is dead at 69

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The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Robert J. Farley, co-founder of the Georgia Ensemble Theatre, died suddenly Thursday. Photo: Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Robert J. Farley, co-founder, with his wife, Anita Allen-Farley, of the Georgia Ensemble Theatre, died suddenly Thursday, according to his daughter, Laurel Farley Crowe.

Crowe posted on her Facebook page Thursday: “It is with profound sadness that I share the news of the passing of my father, Robert J. Farley (Mr. Bob). His death this morning was sudden and unexpected. He was a beacon of light and positivity in a world that can use a little more of both.”

Robert J. Farley, known as “Mr. Bob,” enjoyed a 50-year career in theater. He died Thursday, according to his family. Last spring he had announced that he would be retiring from the Georgia Ensemble Theatre after the current season. He and his wife, Anita Allen-Farley, co-founded the company 25 years ago. Photo: Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Farley’s death stunned Atlanta’s theater community. Only a few weeks ago he was honored for lifetime achievement at the Suzi Bass Awards, Atlanta’s most prestigious theater award. “Our hearts and prayers and love are with the Farley family and Georgia Ensemble family at this difficult time,” the organization posted.

“Everybody’s in shock right now,” said Atlanta playwright and actor Topher Payne on Thursday evening, just before a performance in “Santaland Diaries.” “He was fighting what he said was a minor respiratory infection. He was scheduled to go the doctor today to have that looked at.”

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