Gary Austin Dies

Gary Austin, 75, the founder of the influential improvisational theatre company known as the Groundlings, died from cancer in Los Angeles April 1.

Gary Austin
– Gary Austin

The Gary Austin Workshops and the Groundlings Theatre were immeasurably important to entertainment. Graduates include Will Ferrell, Phill Hartman, Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCartney, Adam Carolla, Paul Reubens and the writers and producers of “Cheers.” Austin is credited with helping Reubens create his alter-ego, Pee Wee Herman.

Austin learned of his cancer 20 years ago, according to a family spokeswoman.