Alfred Dumais

June 9, 1927 - Nov. 16, 2018
Alfred Dumais, June 9, 1927 - Nov. 16, 2018

Alfred Dumais was only 16 when he began his undergraduate studies at the University of Maine, and it turned out to be the start of his lifelong devotion to learning and teaching the performing arts. 

In addition to entertaining audiences for years as an actor and meeting his eventual wife, Mary Dean Healy, in an Off Broadway production of “Bedtime Story,” Mr. Dumais eventually completed his Ph.D. in theater arts at New York University and began teaching at Pace University. He went on to found and later rise to be chairman of Pace’s theater and fine arts department.

Before graduating from college in 1950, Mr. Dumais served two years in the Army as an interpreter in Germany and Belgium following World War II. When he returned home, he worked as a local radio disc jockey in Maine before moving to New York City to take a job as a production assistant at CBS. Once there, Mr. Dumais studied acting at the Herbert Berghof Studios with the influential teacher and Tony Award-winning actress Uta Hagen, and independently with Mira Rostova, a method acting proponent whose other students included notables such as Montgomery Clift, Alec Baldwin, and Jessica Lange.

At Pace, Mr. Dumais directed more than 60 student productions and fought successfully to create a theater major and the Bachelor of Fine Arts program, a precursor to the school’s School of Performing Arts. Along the way, he was named the university’s teacher of the year.

Mr. Dumais died on Nov. 16 of complications following hip surgery at Mount Sinai-St. Luke’s Hospital in New York. He was 91. A service was held on Nov. 19 at the Church of St. John Nupomucene in New York and his family will decide on the disposition of his ashes at a later date. 

He was born on June 9, 1927, in Lewiston, Maine, to Arcene J. Dumais and the former Corinne Marcous. 

Mr. Dumais and wife, the former Mary Dean Healy, continued performing community theater together for years after their marriage on Dec. 28, 1957, most often with the Strollers of Maplewood, a New Jersey group. In 1986, they bought a house in East Hampton.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Dumais is survived by a son, David J. Dumais of Brooklyn, a daughter, Margaret Dumais of Topanga, Calif., and six grandchildren.

The family has suggested memorial contributions to the Actors Fund Home, 155 West Hudson Avenue, Englewood, N.J. 07631, or theactorsfund.org.