It wasn’t until his senior year that David Ackroyd ’62, on the advice of a roommate, took an acting class with Professor Harvey Powers, theatre.
The aspiring attorney, suddenly drawn to the allure of the stage and to Powers’ dedication to the craft, unexpectedly found himself on a new career path. He also met his future wife, Ruth Liming ’65, who played Lady Macduff to Ackroyd’s Macduff in a campus production of Macbeth.
“I was raised on the East Coast and saw a lot of theatre in New York when I was a kid,” says Ackroyd, an English major. “I always loved it and thought it was great fun, but I never for a moment considered it as a career. Harvey walked the walk and talked the talk. It was really special, now that I look back on it.”
It’s been a prolific career. Ackroyd has spent the last half-century acting on stage and film, and guest starring in such television shows as MacGyver, Dallas and Murder, She Wrote.
Today, Ackroyd lives in Whitefish, Mont., where he helped found the Alpine Theatre Project, for which he occasionally acts and directs. He is proudest of a one-man show he performed more than a decade ago called Barrymore, after the life of acting legend John Barrymore.
“I never performed it in a big venue or a major city, and probably overall a couple thousand people saw it,” he says. “But that was the best work I’ve ever done in my life.”
Ackroyd remains close to his alma mater. In 2001, he was recognized by Bucknell with an Academy of Artistic Achievement Award.
“It meant a lot to me,” he says. “It was nice to know that somebody out there was watching.”