Michael Van Meter, 44, Ridiculous Theater member


By Albert Amateau

Michael Van Meter, a Village resident and member of the Ridiculous Theatrical Company in 1995 and ’96, died Jan. 12 at his home on Morton St. at the age of 44.

He was diagnosed as H.I.V. positive several years ago and became seriously ill recently, according to his partner, Everett Quinton.

Michael Van Meter earned glowing notices for his “brilliant comic turn” as a member of a three-character chorus in the Ridiculous Theatrical Company’s adaptation of “Carmen” in 1995. It was his second appearance with the company following his debut as a performer in the company’s version of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

“I met him in 1991 at a party in Montreal where he was living at the time and he came to New York about a year later,” said Quinton, artistic director of the Ridiculous Theatrical Company from 1987, when its founder, Charles Ludlum, died, until 1996, when the company dissolved. “Michael was in “Phaedra,” the last show that we did,” Quinton said.

“He didn’t want the financial insecurity of being an actor — we barely got out of “Phaedra” with our shirts. So he got a job with Mansions Catering on Downing St. and worked for them until shortly before he died,” said Quinton.

Michael Van Meter was born in Michigan City, Ind., one of eight children of Marion and Betty Van Meter. The funeral was Jan. 14 at Grace and St. Paul’s Church on W. 71st St. Redden’s Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

His mother survives as well as three sisters, Judy and Carolyn of Indiana and Cheryl of West Virginia, and four brothers, Ronald and James of California and Denny and Gary of Indiana.