Tony Mokus Sr. (1929 - 2022)
Tony Mokus was a Chicago actor for over 7 decades. During this time, he was nominated for six Joseph Jefferson Awards – all for acting roles.
He did several movie roles, including: Caddyshack II", "Werewolf", "21 Jump Street", and "She's Having a Baby". However he is best remembered for his movie roles in “The Untouchables”, “Backdraft” and “Boss.”
In 1949, he landed a role in a Midwest theatrical touring company of “Mister Roberts,” working with Henry Fonda, John Forsythe and Jackie Cooper.“He said, ‘I could never have had better training, watching those consummate actors,’” his wife said.
After serving in the Korean war and living through an injury that could have ended with any amputated leg, Mr. Mockus became a leading man in Chicago. He appeared in plays including “Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” “Inherit the Wind” and “The Gigli Concert.” He was also a favorite of Cyd Charisse, Paulette Goddard, Cloris Leachman, Barbara Rush and Elke Sommer when they came to Chicago on the dinner theater circuit.
Tony directed the very first production of The Goodman Theatre’s “A Christmas Carol” in 1978. A holiday tradition that will mark its 45 anniversary this year. When the Goodman decided to launch “A Christmas Carol,” Mr. Mockus “brought a strong and passionate vision to Charles Dickens’ beautiful work that, along with casting Bill Norris as Scrooge, established the production as an annual Chicago holiday tradition,” said Roche Schulfer, the theater’s chief executive officer.
He was “a staggeringly powerful presence on stage and in person yet warm and caring to all he directed and acted with,” said BJ Jones, Northlight Theatre’s artistic director.
His wife said she treasures a 1991 note to Mr. Mockus from Hal Holbrook, who starred with him in “The Awakening Land.” After re-watching the 1978 miniseries, Holbrook wrote: “I was moved to tears by your great speeches about the destruction of the wilderness by the white settlers. ... You’re a fine man. I’m proud to have known you."