When I first met Phil Kilbourne, he scared the shit out of me.

We were doing a show at Penumbra together. And along with a boatload of other anxieties I was having at the time, Phil seemed like an oppressive, belittling character.

The man owned that role. And some of that spilled over into how we interacted offstage. But once I got to know him, I realized that it was life imitating art.

There's no doubt that he was an imposing presence to me. And I soon learned that THAT'S what great artists do. They challenge you to bring your A-game. They have a way of keeping you from being lazy. But mostly they live in a way that inspires you to follow.

Phil was the epitome of a working actor. He traveled where the work was and brought that formidable talent with him.

When he was first diagnosed with cancer, he kept working. All the way up until his body betrayed him.

The last time I saw him in person was at Craftstravaganza. He stopped by my wife's booth & bought a few bars of her raw soap. I remember him looking pretty frail. But his sardonic humor was intact. His greatest asset, really. Something we shared. And because of his illness, I knew that his presence there that day was basically a gift.

Well, Phil lost his battle this morning. And I regret the fuck out of that.

Because I just can't see how that actually happened. Especially when something as low as cancer can bring down such a colossal figure like Phil Kilbourne.

But it's happened. And there's no changing that.

I just hope that wherever he lands, he's towering above the pricks and making them laugh. Or at least showing them how to live a full life in character.

Posted courtesy of Regret-A-Day.