Subject: William Huttel|
Date: 16 Nov 01 - 09:41 AM
I know there are a lot of RenFest people who will be greatly saddened by this from today's Washington Post.
William Huttel Dies; Played Henry VIII
By Bart Barnes
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 16, 2001; Page B07
William G. Huttel, 48, an actor who was best known for his portrayals of King Henry VIII at the Maryland Renaissance Festival and similar events along the Eastern Seaboard, died Nov. 12 at Greater Southeast Community Hospital after a heart attack.
At 6 feet 8 inches tall and weighing more than 300 pounds, Mr. Huttel looked the part of the British monarch, who was legendary for his prodigious appetites for food, drink and women. During his reign from 1509 to 1547, Henry VIII had six wives.
For 13 seasons, beginning in 1989, Mr. Huttel played Henry VIII at the Maryland Renaissance Festival, an outdoor event of late summer and early autumn in Crownsville. This year, the festival drew 290,000 visitors. With his hair and beard dyed red to match the color suggested for Henry VIII's hair and beard in portraits by Hans Holbein, Mr. Huttel was said to have reflected the popular image of what the 16th-century king must have looked like.
So naturally did Mr. Huttel take to the Henry VIII role that he took it on the road. For the last eight years, he had been Henry VIII at the Florida Renaissance Festival. "Bill's greatest secret was that he brought himself to the role," said Bobby Rodriguez, who owns and operates the Florida Renaissance Festival.
Mr. Huttel also played Henry at the Ontario Renaissance Festival in Canada and at smaller events along the East Coast. He acted with theatrical companies in the Washington area and elsewhere and played in mysteries at the Blair Mansion in Silver Spring.
Mr. Huttel, a resident of Forestville and Ocean Pines and a native of Forestville, was a graduate of Suitland High School. He attended Catholic University, where he was a defensive end on the football team for two years before a knee injury ended his athletic career. A music major who loved to sing with his powerful baritone voice, he sometimes joked that he was the only music major to attend Catholic University on a football scholarship.
After his 1975 graduation, he was road manager for the Second Coming Band, and he managed concerts in Ocean City, Md.
He began his association with the Maryland Renaissance Festival in 1988 when a friend asked him to serve as master of the lists, essentially an announcer on the jousting field. Queen Elizabeth I, the daughter of Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn, was the reigning monarch at the festival that year. The following year, operators of the festival decided they wanted Henry VIII. Another actor was chosen for the role, but he resigned abruptly four days before the festival opened, and Mr. Huttel was asked to fill in at the last minute.
"In remarkably short time, Bill was doing the role as if he'd been born to play king," said Carolyn Spedden, the festival's artistic director.
In successive years, the festival dramatized continuing story lines involving the relationship between Henry VIII and his wives, two of whom were beheaded. Over the years, Mr. Huttel played the king to each of Henry VIII's six wives, their stories unfolding in an atmosphere rife with the smell of smoked turkey and the sounds of bawdy bar songs and laughing wenches.
Nearly 200 actors would make up the royal court and its attending hangers-on. There was always a series of sketches -- some scripted, some spontaneous -- including the likes of jousting, sword fights and fire eaters.
Visitors wanting to get into the movie-set feel of the festival could rent costumes, buy one-pound turkey legs or a mug of ale and play along.
Mr. Huttel's marriage to Kim Kink ended in divorce.
There are no immediate survivors.
© 2001 The Washington Post Company
On a personal note, I met Bill last year through a common friend. I found him to be kind, personable, and a perfect man for the role. My wife and I will miss him terribly.
Goodbye, Your Majesty.