[UPDATE: April 22, 2011 — Alan Champion died this morning a bit after 10:00am. He died in Oklahoma with his sister by his side in the same bed in which his mother previously passed. Alan was 55. He died on Good Friday. We already miss him. Together, we will carry forward the glow of his talent into the bright future he blazed for us.]

Alan Champion is not dead!  A viral Facebook meme recently took off claiming Alan had finally succumbed to appendix cancer, but that rumor is false, and there’s video evidence to prove it!

Before we get to the gory hoariness of the cancer testing Alan’s will to live, let’s first celebrate the man in the moment.  For over 30 years, Alan has been the premier interpreter for the live Broadway stage. His work is synonymous with excellence in intention, divination and practice.

Alan is CODA — a Child Of a Deaf Adult — and that means he was a Hearing child born to Deaf parents.  Alan grew up stewed in American Sign Language and he took on a natural syntax clarity and grammar goodness that is hard to teach to ASL students.

Alan knows the difference between an interpreter and a clarifier, because he’s lived the effects of the experience from both ends of the communication dyad.

My lovely wife Janna met Alan many years ago as part of the Theatre Development Fund’s super-special — Interpreting for the Theatre Training Program at Juilliard — and Alan quickly became her mentor and friend.

Alan Champion has always been beyond kind to us and he has willfully shared his insights and experiences with everyone in the Deaf Community to help make communication between Hearing performers and Deaf audiences something to be enjoyed and expected instead of being morose and immolating.

So, Alan has been dealing with appendix cancer — and while the prognosis is not great for facilitating a long-term recovery — he still lives every day in the moment and continues to interpret for live audiences.

When the Facebook rumor broke about his untimely demise, Alan and his interpreter friends decided to laugh in the face of the death wish and make a video as laughing proof of his life.

Here is that YouTube video — sort of signed to the tune of Spamalot’sHe Is Not Dead Yet” song from the Broadway musical — and you don’t have to be Deaf to enjoy their show:

As you just saw, Alan Champion lives up to the glory of his last name — and instead of choosing the easier way of coddling down to meet the dismay gutting him — Alan instead chooses to forge forward into life.

Alan Champion’s living legacy in the Deaf Community, and in the Broadway theatre, is large and captivating, and he has already achieved a sort of ethereal, blessed, immortality that brings his deeds into the future eternal where he will always be appreciated for his service and shall never be forgotten for his wisdom and generous spirit.

15 Comments

  1. Hi,
    I’m an actor who has worked on Sesame Street for many years and Alan was Linda Bove’s interpreter during the years she was on the show. I’m very happy to hear that Alan is still very much with us and is still doing what he is so good at. Way to go Alan!
    Carole, my wife and I send you our love and wish you the very best! Contact me through facebook or email or any other way you want.

    Emilio (Luis)

    1. Alan was a wonderful friend and mentor to me. As a Deaf woman, I never would have had the opportunity be an interpreter for a Broadway show without his support — and Candy Broecker-Penn’s support, too. My time spent with the Juilliard Interpreter Training program made some of the best memories of my life in New York City, and Alan was a founding cornerstone of that magnificent teaching forum.

  2. I am so sorry to hear of Alan’s passing. I know him since we had attended college together and know of his work in the theatre community signing fr the deaf. I had the pleasure of hearing him sing while he was in the choir at St. Clemens in Philadelphia. The heavenly choir will surely welcome him. Such a dear sweet man. Rest in peace my friend.

  3. I didn’t know Alan, but the love and respect for him expressed here is admirable. My good thoughts and prayers go out to his friends and family.