Harry Louis Mastrogeorge
Harry Louis Mastrogeorge passed away, at home, in Los Angeles, California on April 26, 2023 at the age of 92. Harry was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the youngest and only son of Amelia (Dinaico) and Louis Mastrogeorge. He is predeceased by his parents, and sisters Despina (Bebe) Contonikolas and Argiro (Argie) Leech. Harry is survived by his daughters, Lee Mastrogeorge, Genna James, Robin Sterling, , son-in-law Dennis James, son-in-law John Sterling, grandchildren Spenser (and Meghan Keck) James, Alec Reid, Kyle Sterling, Olivia Sterling, Brendan Sterling, nieces Emily Bell, Alice Kopacka, Gail Kiss, Jill Knowles, Lee Koutsivitis, Sandy Wilson and extended family in New Jersey, Illinois, and Florida. In school, Harry was well known for his strong opinions and “directing” other students. He was an enthusiastic member of the swim team and was pleased to be elected class president his senior year. Work was always a priority for Harry, and his first job at age 11 was to set up pins in the local bowling alley. As a young adult, Harry also helped his father at the family industrial painting company. Harry followed his passion for dance and theater arts after high school graduation and moved to New York City. He studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Harry was proud of his early acting roles which included “Edge of the City” starring Sidney Poitier. He worked as a movie extra and liked to explain that every time he changed clothes (roles), he earned another paycheck. Throughout the 1950’s, Harry appeared as an actor in film, live television, regional theater, and summer stock. Harry met his wife Barbara, an aspiring actress, at the Old Town Theatre in Smithtown, Long Island. They raised three young daughters together who he called “my three angels.” Proud to support our country, Harry served for ten years in the Army Active Reserve as Sergeant First Class, and two years in the Marine Corps Reserve as Private First Class. Harry decided to work “behind the camera” and joined the faculty at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts as Director and Acting Teacher in 1956. As his professional reputation and influence grew, he was later invited to teach in the Theater Arts Master’s Degree program at Brandeis University for two years. Harry then returned to the Academy and continued teaching there until 1974. Seeking a change in his professional life, Harry moved to Los Angeles where he directed a variety of productions, including comedies, dramas, classics, and musicals. During this time, he continued to teach and direct at the Chamber Theater in Los Angeles. Harry enjoyed directing episodic television programs, such as Miami Vice, The Love Boat, and the Mary Tyler Moore Show, and special television events with Dorothy Hamill, and later, The Carpenters. Harry devoted years to inspiring and mentoring his students, most recently at the Hudson Theater in Hollywood and through acting workshops at the Harry Mastrogeorge Theater in Austin, TX. Harry was proud to receive the 2019 Teacher’s Making a Difference Award sponsored by the Creative Coalition and presented at the Sundance Film Festival. A private memorial service and burial will be held in Pittsburgh on May 6, 2023. A Celebration of Life open to friends, students, and colleagues will be held in Los Angeles in the near future.
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