Sunday, November 18, 2012

Gene Bua Dead at 72

Actor and teacher Gene Bua has died at age 72. He passed away on November 17 with his wife, Toni Bull, by his side. Bull announced the news of his death:
"The great Master Teacher and my hero and Lion King for 47 years, Gene Bua, passed into the Light on Sat. Nov. 17th at 1:40, after battling 13 years of Parkinson's and yet still going on to teach, write songs, be a mighty friend, and enjoy much of his life. I am surrounded by his power love and radiance as I walk through these coming days with as much Grace as God will allow me. Very much love to you all."
- Toni Bua, carrying on Gene's legacy in my heart and soul.
Trained at New York's prestigious Neighborhood Playhouse, Gene Bua was discovered by famed composer Richard Rodgers who asked him to play the lead in the Broadway revival of "The Boys from Syracuse." After starring in a string of hit shows, Gene became a soap opera idol as Bill Prentiss on CBS TV's long-running daytime drama, LOVE OF LIFE, where he met his co-star, Toni Bull.

As America watched them fall in love on TV, life was imitating art. When their characters married on the show, they married in real life. They continued to be two of the most popular and respected actors on daytime television. Bill and Tess were named to our 50 Greatest Soap Couples list earlier this year.

In 1969 Bua released an album titled "Love of Life." In an interview promoting the record he talked about being recognized for his soap role.

"People see me on the street and they stare for a moment and then they say, 'Hi, Bill,' or 'Aren't you Bill Prentiss?' I simply say 'yes' rather than explain that I'm Gene Bua and that I play Bill Prentiss. If I'm Bill Prentiss to them that's fine with me."

Bua's other soap roles included Dr. Robert Monday in HOW TO SURVIVE A MARRIAGE and Steve Slade in SOMERSET.

While on the set of SOMERSET, other actors would approach Bua seeking to discover what technique he used to be so spontaneous and so powerfully in the moment, take after take. He invited his cast members to his New York City apartment and began an experiment...a merging of Gene's Sanford Meisner technique and Bull's intensive Uta Hagen training, that eventually grew, transformed and exploded into the Acting For Life program.

In 1980, shortly after the couple moved to Burbank from New York, they cofounded Gene Bua Acting for Life, a Burbank-based acting school that went on to receive honors from the White House, United Nations, six California mayors and the Los Angeles Unified School District.

In addition to their many stage and television credits, their numerous charitable involvements, and Acting For Life, the Buas have created and produced a string of award winning productions including the legendary "Pepper Street" which was written by Toni and composed and directed by Gene. At the time, it was L.A.'s longest running musical and sponsored over 3000 kids at risk during its five year run.

"Across from Cindy's Corner," directed by Bull, a journey through Bua's life and teachings, earned him the Artistic Directors' Award for Best Actor In A Musical.

Their current mega-musical "When I Dream," co-created and executive produced by Tracey Bregman from THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS, is in development for 2013.
The Bua's long awaited book and CD, "Gene and Toni Bua's Acting For Life" is also planned for 2013.

- FLASHBACK: Gene Bua Launches New Career As Singer 1969
- 50 Greatest Soap Couples: #48 Bill & Tess From LOVE OF LIFE
- FLASHBACK: Bill and Tess Sing on LOVE OF LIFE


  1. I pass by the Gene Bua Theater every day on my way to work. :(

  2. Rest In Peace, Gene. Bless You!


  3. I had the opportunity to study under Toni and Gene at Acting for Life in 1999. It was such a joy. I am so sad to hear of his passing. He was a great talent and a wonderful person.

  4. I watched 'Love of Life' solely for seeing "Bill and Tess" together. I am sure that they will spend all of eternity with one another.