Michael James McEachran 1969 – 2014
by manu narayan
Michael McEachran, my college roommate and friend, sadly passed away this past Sunday morning after a year long battle with Brain Cancer. Michael, an alumnus of the Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama (CFA ’95), acted, sang, and danced on television and in theaters on Broadway, off Broadway, on tour and regionally across the country. Michael was an immensely talented actor and most importantly a beautiful human being. He has been an inspiration to me . My heart and prayers are with his Spouse, Mother, Stepfather, Siblings, his Nieces, Nephews and those who loved him.
I first met Michael at the beginning of second semester of freshman year, January 1992. Matthew Stocke, a classmate of Michael in the Music Theatre program at the School of Drama, Paolo Malabuyo, a Fine Arts and Industrial Design double major, and I occupied prime real estate of the Carnegie Mellon Campus, Roselawn Terrace #7. It was light blue individual row house for 5 roommates with a porch, back area, a big living room, dining room, basement with a washer and dryer, and three bedrooms upstairs. Over the holidays that year, our two previous roommates Ed Walker and Michael Solomon left the CMU Drama school and Roselawn 7 for different pastures so we had two vacancies. One went to directing student Tim Conley who quickly claimed the basement. The other went to this thin, tall, handsome, dapper young man with red hair, Michael McEachran. Thanks to some nifty maneuvering for the single room by Mr. Stocke, Michael and I shared a room for what would become three semesters.
The new Roselawn 7 guys became fast friends and in addition to our rigorous schedules in the College of Fine Arts, we found ways to hang out with each other and be the de facto CFA – Drama and Music congregation hall – party house – over the weekends. Michael was older than all of us and because of his maturity and personality, he easily became a big brother to me and I sure to the others. He patiently would answer the questions I had regarding the basics of acting and give strong encouragement to me in my times of despair. He would be able to negotiate the different strong artistic egos and personalities in the house. Don’t get me wrong, Michael had a healthy ego but his was tempered by great empathy, generosity, and compassion. He also was a magnet as he dripped charm and a joie de vivre that always served for a good laugh. He was the life of any gathering.
In the School of Drama productions, I remember being struck by his acting work in the George Kaufmann/ Moss Hart play “Once in a Lifetime.” His physical work, the ability for the audience to empathize with his character, his comedic chops, and his brilliant choice to shell and eat peanuts throughout the play as the dimwitted George were eye-opening to me. His work in that play was so believable and incredible to watch, so human and honest. To this day, at every first rehearsal of a new play, I think about that eating peanuts choice and how cool it was.
I did get to perform with Michael once in the senior production of “Cabaret,” he as the tall, bean pole, Joel-Grey-be-damned EMCEE full of charm and fury and me as the KitKat “girl” with the short purple skirt and hairy legs playing the Saxophone in the band. Again he was incredible – this time additionally as a song and dance man. To this day “Cabaret” is still my favorite musical.
The summer after graduation, Michael was scheduled to do a production upstate and had some time off before. He invited me on a road trip with him to Orlando to visit his family. On the highway in North Carolina in the middle of the night, we saw a small furry bundle trying to cross the road. Michael stopped the car, put it in reverse and we added one more soul to our duo heading south. A small, tick riddled, cute-as-a-button puppy dog which he gave to his sister Lisa and her family. It was a great trip. Getting to experience first hand the newly graduated Michael returning home to showers of love from his proud, proud family. It was quickly apparent where Michael got his best attributes.
I don’t know why over time Michael and I lost the closeness of those collegiate years. He moved to New York City, I was on tour for four years and then was in and out of the city for the first few years after. Wrongly, I took his friendship for granted. I have seen him a few times, but never once shared with him what how much his friendship and Artistry had influenced me.
Mikey, thank you my friend for everything that you shared with and have given me. I am not sure why things happen the way they do, but wherever you are, I hope that you can fully see and sense the immense love for you that is zapping back and forth on the internet, but more importantly how much it swells in our hearts and minds. Rest in well deserved peace my friend you are already greatly missed.
Memorials may be made in Michael’s memory to:
St. Jude’s Children’s Cancer Research Hospital
P.O. Box 1000, Dept. 142, Memphis, TN 38148-0142
or by calling 1-800-822-6344.
Please provide Michael’s tribute #35893813 and the family will be notified of your gift.
Michael’s Obituary and Funeral information from his sister Diane Wolf:
Dear friends and family – Here is my wonderful brother Michael McEachran‘s obituary and funeral service information. I miss him and there will forever be a hole in my heart. Writing about his amazing life was my greatest honor. He is resting in the loving arms of our father – singing and dancing in heaven. If you are in the New York area, please come celebrate with us on Saturday, May 3rd.
Michael James McEachran, age 44, Broadway and Television singer/actor, went into God’s arms on Sunday, April 27th at his dream home in Brooklyn, NY. He was diagnosed in 2013 with brain cancer. He fought courageously and continued his selfless love during the last 12 months, just as he did his entire life. He is survived by a loving family including his spouse, Hector Rojas who was faithfully beside him; his mother and stepfather, Joyce and Charles Frantzen; a brother, Jeffrey McEachran; two sisters, Lisa Cowan and Diane (John) Wolf, and a sister-in-law, Amy McEachran-Todd. He will be remembered as a loving uncle and honorary father-figure to ten nieces and nephews: Jeffrey McEachran Jr., Jared McEachran, Justin Cowan, Ryan Anderson, Aliya Cowan, Katey Wolf, Amy Wolf, Emilie Wolf, Johnny Wolf and Tory Cowan. He is preceded in death by his father and step-mother, James A. (Elaine) McEachran, his infant brother, James C. McEachran, his grandparents, and lifetime friend, Timothy Mitchell.
Michael was born in Alpena, Michigan on June 9, 1969. He was the youngest child with bright red hair and sparkling blue eyes singing ‘Joy to World’ at the age of two. He graduated from Goshen, Indiana High School in 1987 and was inspired to sing and dance by participating in the ensemble ‘Crimsonaires.’ He graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music Theatre from Carnegie Mellon University in 1995 and starred in ‘Cabaret’ his senior year. His Broadway credits include several touring productions including ‘How to Succeed in Business’ with Ralph Macchio, 1996; ‘You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,’ 2000. He also appeared in Broadway’s ‘Little Me’ starring Martin Short, 1998. He starred in the 2006 off-Broadway Musical “How to Save the World and Find True Love” which was written and produced for him. Michael was in numerous television commercials and TV appearances. He is a member of Actor’s Equity. He joined Edison Learning, an education services company as Enrollment Manager in 2007. He used his creativity and his inexhaustible energy to inspire students throughout the country to stay in school. In addition to his passion for song and dance, Michael later became a fine artist including pencil sketching and acrylic paint. In 2012, he helped inspire the creation of Mod Cup, LLC., a specialty coffee business in Hoboken, NJ.
Michael will be remembered for his passion, love, creativity, talent, soulful wisdom, wit, and lasting friendship. He will continue to be a light that shines forever. Services will be held on Saturday, May 3rd, 2014 at the Actors’ Chapel – St. Malachy’s, 239 W. 49th Street, New York, NY 10019, 212-489-1340. Visitation starts at 9:30 a.m. and funeral services begin at 11:00 a.m. Burial will be held privately.
Expressions of condolences can be sent to the Actor’s Chapel. Memorials may be made in Michael’s memory to St. Jude’s Children’s Cancer Research Hospital, P.O. Box 1000, Dept. 142, Memphis, TN 38148-0142 or by calling 1-800-822-6344. Please provide Michael’s tribute #35893813 and the family will be notified of your gift.