Sadly, Professor Ruscio passed away in his Encino, California home on November 12, 2013. The Professor had one of those Doc “Moonlight” Graham careers, no midnight escapades or back alley shenanigans, just a good solid performer, a backbone of the community. No Tweets, no fusses no ruses stirred by publicists paving the way to the moon. His star on the Boulevard is that he didn’t lose his soul to get one. He showed up for work like the rest of us and in a career of stellar performances worked shoulder to shoulder with many of the better known actors and actresses of the last sixty (60) years.
We came to know him in an era when television sets wore rabbit ears, were black and white and not nearly so portable. Our families and friends learned about him and what he meant to us. The man and his legacy will dwell in that special part of our hearts where he will be loved and missed.
Rest in peace dear friend.
Born in Salem, Massachusetts in 1924 Mr. Ruscio is married and the father of 3 children. He served 5 years as the Chairman of the Drama Department of Midwestern College. In addition to his duties as department chair, Mr. Ruscio instructed classes and was the leading actor in many award winning productions showcased at the college.
It has been our good fortune to know Mr. Ruscio as a professor, actor and friend. More forty years have passed since the college closed, but whenever he would appear on television or in a movie we all took great pride in knowing him.
The Internet Movie Database profile of his acting career itemizes more than one hundred fifty (150) appearances in movies and television series or episodes. His acting career is a litany of stellar performances where he worked shoulder to shoulder with many of the better know actors and actresses of the last sixty (60) years.
An all-time favorite which has been enjoyed by many is the memorable episode from The Wonder Years titled “The Hardware Store” in which Mr. Ruscio plays the store owner. The script is familiar to aging Baby Boomers and you’ll be glad to have taken this tip to watch it when you have the chance. Currently there is a cute clip on Bing Video you can view taken from Hulkout2.
Mr. Ruscio was the keynote speaker at the Midwestern College Reunion held in Washington, D.C., October 5 & 6, 2007 and delivered a well received remembrance address.
Since the 2007 reunion Classmate Lou Aronica has been in regular contact with our friend and mentor. Mr. Ruscio has devoted considerable time and energy in writing an acting textbook titled: “So Therefore… A Practical Guide For Actors” which has been well received by reviewers and is available at Amazon.com. The foreword was written by well known Academy Award winner Martin Landau.
Lou has visited Al and his wife Jane in their Encino, California home and has written of their perfect timing in playing straight man to the others lead. The well spring of energy coming from the ever young late 80 year old was overwhelming to Lou. Al slowed only to express how grateful he is for the students of Midwestern College and how each of you are part of the many great memories the Ruscio family continue to enjoy. He wanted to be sure to send his best regards to all of you.