GARY ALLEN COCKRELL 1932–2018
Gary Allen Cockrell, born in St. Louis, Missouri, USA on December 4, 1932 passed away in Orlando, Florida on October 26, 2018. He left behind his Saint Lucian-born wife Marie Thecla Cockrell, presently residing in Florida, his children: Brett Cockrell, residing in the UK; Jake Cockrell, a former student of St. Mary's College, presently residing in Orlando, Florida; Joey Cockrell and Jade Cockrell former students of Dame Pearlette Louisy Primary School, also residing in Orlando, Florida.
At school, Gary was a gymnast and athlete who developed his interest in dance as a teenager after seeing the film 'The Red Shoes'. Moving to New York to learn dance, he was in the stage production of Damn Yankees and the 1957 Broadway production of 'West Side Story', travelling to Britain with the show the following year. He left 'West Side Story' for a straight acting role in 'Orpheus Descending'. Gary acted in many feature films and television productions including The Saint, the Persuaders, Tarzan the Magnificent, Lolita (he played the role of her husband), The Rebel, Cross Trap, The War Lover with Steve McQueen and Robert Wagner, Man in The Middle, The Americanization of Emily, The Bedford Incident and many others.
In 1964 Gary opened a dance studio called The Dance Centre in Covent Garden, London, followed by a Dance Center clothing line with many retail shops around the world. He later expanded the business which ran for thirteen years until 1977 when he opened a ladies only health spa named The Sanctuary. Gary retired from acting and choreography around this time. After many years of running the business he retired and moved to Palm Springs, California and later to Saint Lucia to be the Artistic Director at The BodyHoliday, Le Sport Resort.
After his marriage to Marie in 1989, the couple moved to Missouri where they lived a quiet family life for 13 years. In 2003 they returned to Saint Lucia. Gary had a great love for gardening and local wine-making, though he might be best remembered for his Sunday morning pancake breakfasts which often included his next-door neighbour, Derek Walcott. As Gary would say: “Another day in Paradise.” May his soul rest in peace.
Gary Cockrell who died last Friday.