John Dee Dennis, of Baton Rouge, passed away peacefully in his home on Friday, Jan. 27, 2012, at the age of 74. He was a respected director and acting teacher at LSU for more than 30 years. Born in Joliet, Ill., on Nov. 2, 1937, he attended Northern Illinois State University, De Kalb, where he earned B.A. and M.A. degrees. He also received an MFA degree from Ohio University. "JD," as he was affectionately called by his friends and students, came to LSU in 1980 after working for eight years as the artistic director of the Resident Ensemble and Improvisational Theatre Project at the Mark Taper Forum Theatre in Los Angeles. During that time, he was awarded two L.A. Drama Critic's Awards and the Dramalogue Award for Directing. His company won several awards for Best Ensemble. While at the Mark Taper Forum he directed more than 20 productions including, "GUNS, BUGS," "Leander Stillwell," "Artaud," "The Romance and Tragedy of Pioneer Life," "A Christmas Carol," "An Act of Imagination" and "The Congress of Idiots." Before working at The Taper Forum, Dennis taught at The University of Northern Iowa and St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. During his professional career he directed more than 50 productions at regional theaters throughout the country, including The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The Magic Theatre, The Intiman Theatre, Southcoast Repertory Theatre and The Taper Too. At the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Dennis directed "Two Gentleman of Verona," "The Miser," "The Comedy of Errors" and his own, "Shakespeare in Briefs." Dennis also directed the world premiere of "Shiloh Rules," written by his friend, Doris Baizley, for the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, which he later brought to Swine Palace where he cast his own LSU graduate acting students as well as local professional actors. His many productions at LSU include: "A Christmas Carol," "You Can't Take It With You," "Lysistrata," "The Seagull," "A Streetcar Named Desire," "Orphans," "Look Homeward Angel," Killer Joe," "The Tooth of Crime," "The Rose Tattoo," "Fool for Love," "Barefoot in the Park," "The Balcony Scene," "Picnic," "The Suicide," The King Stag," "The Rimers of Eldritch," "Once in a Lifetime," "The Bacchae," "Terra Nova," "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf," "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," "Dracula," "Little Shop of Horrors," "The Miser" and "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown." His productions of "Fool for Love," "Balcony Scene" and "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" were chosen by the national committee of the American College Theatre Festival to be performed at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., where he also received Directing Honors. At LSU, he received the LSU Foundation Distinguished Teaching Award in 1991, the Alumni Association Distinguished Faculty Award in 1996 and The Tiger Athletic Foundation Teaching Award in 2003. In 2002, he became the first Gresdna A. Doty Professor of Theatre. Dennis inspired scores of actors and artists alike and has left a directing and teaching legacy uniquely his own. His voice will echo in LSU's Shaver Theatre for years to come, and his laugh will live in the hearts of those he touched and who loved him dearly. He was preceded in death by his parents, Isabel and Earl Dennis; and by his sister, Sue Dennis Abbott. He is survived by two nieces, Pam Marek, Grosse Point, Mich., and Deborah Mucci, Lynnfield, Mass.; as well as by loving students and friends, most notably his companion of many years, John Koch. A memorial service will be held in the Claude L. Shaver Theatre, Music and Dramatic Arts Building on the LSU campus – Dalrymple Drive, Saturday, Feb. 18, at 11 a.m. Contributions may be made in memory of John Dennis, in care of the LSU Foundation, 3838 W. Lakeshore Drive, Baton Rouge, LA 70808.