16th Sep 2012Posted in: Blog 6
In Memoriam: Richard Nickol


My greatest mentor, and my dear dear friend… I am stunned, and upside down and inside out. I have watched my entire life replay in my head as I’ve remembered you this morning.

I remember you standing me in front of the mirror when I was 16 years old and anorexic and making me list my own beauty and worth to myself in the mirror almost every week while I recovered. I remember hearing your roar over the crowds on opening nights, your booming “WHOOOOOOO!!!!!”. It still makes me smile. You rallied people by their hopes and their dreams, creating a temenos, a sacred circle where we grew as artists and grew as human beings. You taught me to see the best in myself, and to practicing being the woman I saw myself becoming; you taught me to create myself ON PURPOSE.
Your vocal technique was your Taj Mahal, and I do believe and know that you saw it in such glorious architectural and spiritual detail. The mind and body were its structure, and the human spirit its declaration. And you were masterful.

At your best you could find grace in everyone and everything. And at your worst you could leave devastation that seemed to rank as a CAT 5 storm. A power house and diva to rival them all! If you heard me say that, you’d probably cackle with your heart wide open, look me dead in the eye with that irrepressible gleam and yell “BIIITCH!!!! Don’t you know who I think I am??!!” and I’d grin right back at you, heart wide open and laugh.

We saw each other at our highest highs, and spoke bluntly, heart to heart at our lowest lows. Somehow we had chosen each other, and you could hear me on your darkest days. I’ll never forget that.

When I look at what I’ve dedicated my life to – from singing and acting to meditation, metaphyics, the healing arts and the study of the vast world of religion and spirituality, I can trace almost all of them back to the seeds that you planted in my 16 year old mind. To say that I would not be who I am today without you is an understatement. You introduced me to fine institutions, and brilliant teachers and with them helped me learn to weave me life on a living loom.

I cannot put into words how much I will miss you, or how glad I am for you that you are finally unencumbered. I know that I will continue learning from you all the days of my life. You are ever cherished.

Death does not wipe out the past. Nor does it change the future. It is my imaginations of the future that I must put to rest with you. The fantasies of future reunions, our hug after my first night on broadway, the triumphant “we did it!”

I think I know how rare it is to have found such a mentor and great friend in one person, and to have gotten to work with him for more than a decade, and I count myself as truly blessed.

Go in peace into the next great adventure, and I’ll see you on the other side.

6 Responses

  1. Joe Kassner says:

    Hi Mindy,
    Richard was good friend of mine in high school and college. Sadly, we lost touch with each other. I was thinking of him and went to look him up on the internet and found this.
    If you wouldn’t mind, would you email me and let me know what happened.
    Thanks very much,

  2. John Williams III says:

    Just out of the blues I tried to call Richard just now to wish him a Merry Christmas and let him know that my long awaited show was going on the road in 2015. Only to get a disconnection notice and then seeing this and other post. Just curious since he was my singing coach at one time.. what happened and when did he pass on? I am actually in tears right now because he was a great man and the best coach ever.

  3. Geri kushner says:

    Hi mindy could you email me as well. We were childhood friends, family friends and neighbors. He had a great personality, voice and was so kind , we lost touch after he got married etc…. I found him on Facebook.

    I will always remember him as the lion in wizard of oz, Tevya from fiddler with that tremendous laugh, voice, bellow.
    Please let me know what happened to my dear friend. Thank you. Geri

  4. Faith says:

    Thank you for this tribute to Richard Nickol. I wish to add that his presence in my life, though brief and intermittent, was deep and meaningful. To say he was an inspiration is an understatement. He was a force. His unimaginable talent touched me, as did his passion for the craft and his enthusiastic and sincere support.

    Shout Out: Richard, I was rehearsing a song…wondering if it’s worth performing. And then you came rushing into my mind and heart. Of course I will do the song, because I have internalized your enthusiastic encouragement. And after all, I trained with the best. When I sing, I will do so for you. THANK YOU.


  5. Randy Sayer says:

    Hi Mindy –

    thank you for the touching words about Richard; I had no idea… I toured with Richard for 2+ years with CATS, and he was all of the things you knew him to be…

    I too have no clue as to what befell my old friend; would you be kind enough at some point to send me an email please??

    Thank you
    Randy Sayer

  6. Ian Nelson says:

    Thanks Mindy! I just found out that Richard had passed on.
    I met Richard while taking a Liberty Experience training in San Francisco and he opened up his home to me and we lived together for 3 months … I think it was in 1989. We had so much fun. We danced on the weekends. Sometimes I was in the quietly in the bedroom while students were receiving their singing lessons by the piano in the living room. I loved listening to Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga!
    Richard was so good to me. I am so sorry he is gone.
    We last spoke in 2011 when I made a brief trip to San Francisco. This really makes me realize how time is precious and not to be taken for granted.

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