Parcast Remembers the Remarkable Life of Gary Austin

Caption: Gary Austin (Three from the far right)

Caption: Gary Austin (Three from the far right)

Parcast owes a debt of gratitude to the late Gary Austin. Our podcasts wouldn’t be what they are today if he hadn’t connected our team with the talented voice actors we feature.

Gary Austin often saw talent in people who couldn’t see it in themselves; coaxing it to the surface was his gift. He was a rare guy in Hollywood. Gary didn’t care about money or fame. He cared more about his student performers pushing themselves beyond whatever they thought imaginable for themselves. He gave them the license to be creative and the confidence to be daring.

For the many aspiring individuals trying to break into the entertainment industry, Gary’s improv and sketch comedy workshops were transformative and out of this world. By virtue of his energy, passion, and selflessness, he propelled many towards illustrious careers and took a backseat when the spotlight arrived. He didn’t believe in dimming another person’s shine and would much sooner give them the shirt off his back. Everyone excelled under Gary’s direction, because his workshops were a fun, safe place to be a kid at heart. He made everyone feel welcome, like they were a part of one big functional family.

The Gary Austin Workshops have been around in Los Angeles since 1972. He also founded The Groundlings two years later, one of theatre’s most influential improvisational and sketch comedy troupes, which he directed until 1979. Indicative of the man he was, Gary turned down an offer to be SNL’s director in 1975, because he didn’t want to break up the Groundlings. The Groundlings were his family and he wouldn’t leave them.

Over the years, The Groundlings have trained numerous notable performers, including SNL’s Phil Hartman, Laraine Newman, and Paul Reubens. Other famous pupils you may recognize are Lisa Kudrow, Will Ferrell, Jimmy Fallon, Melissa McCarthy, Tyra Banks and Robert David Hall. And of course, much of the Parcast team.

Last, but certainly not least, Gary was the beloved husband of Wenndy MacKenzie, one of our two wonderful show hosts for Unsolved Murders: True Crime Stories. Wenndy, please know that here at Parcast we are not just colleagues and friends. We are family, and we will always here for you.