Diane Gaidry-Walker, 54, life coach, star of ‘Lov­ing Annabelle’

The Buffalo News - - OBITUARIES - By Anne Neville

On the blog of “Vérité,” her life coach­ing busi­ness, Diane GaidryWalker mused about her life af­ter her cancer di­ag­no­sis a year ago.

“I’ve learned a lot and in many ways, I’m grate­ful to the cancer for serv­ing as such a pow­er­ful teacher,” Ms. Gaidry-Walker wrote. “I’ve learned that re­gard­less of whether or not some­thing has been said a mil­lion times be­fore, it has not been said from my per­spec­tive and voice. I’ve learned that there are no guar­an­tees that I will have a voice to­mor­row or next week or next year, so if I have some­thing to say, I might want to do that to­day.”

Ms. Gaidry-Walker died Jan. 30, 2019, in her Buf­falo home. She was 54.

She acted on stage and tele­vi­sion and in film, in­clud­ing the role for which she was best known, the 2006 movie, “Lov­ing Annabelle.”

In that film, di­rected by Kather­ine Brooks, Ms. Gaidry-Walker played po­etry teacher Si­mone Bradley, who has a re­la­tion­ship with Annabelle, played by Erin Kelly, a 17-year-old stu­dent in a Catholic board­ing school.

For that role, Ms. Gaidry-Walker won the Out­stand­ing Ac­tress award at the 2006 Out­fest, a Los An­ge­les or­ga­ni­za­tion that “pro­motes LGBTQ equal­ity by cre­at­ing, shar­ing and pro­tect­ing LGBTQ sto­ries on the screen.”

Ms. Gaidry-Walker was born Oct. 11, 1964, on Ellsworth Air Force Base in Rapid City, S.D., the daugh­ter of Bar­bara Cun­ning­ham and Thomas Gaidry and sis­ter of Brian Gaidry.

She moved to Sny­der in her youth and at­tended Amherst Ju­nior and Se­nior high schools be­fore grad­u­at­ing from the Buf­falo Academy for Vis­ual and Per­form­ing Arts in 1982. She earned a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in act­ing from the New York Uni­ver­sity Tisch School of the Arts and a mas­ter’s de­gree in psy­chol­ogy from the Uni­ver­sity of Santa Mon­ica.

In 1989, she ap­peared on the CBS series “TV 101,” be­com­ing the first grad­u­ate of the arts high school to ap­pear on a net­work tele­vi­sion show.

In 1993, Ms. Gaidry-Walker co-founded the Los An­ge­les-based non­profit in­de­pen­dent film­mak­ing col­lec­tive, Film­mak­ers Al­liance, and served as its ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor. She played lead roles in some of the fea­ture-length films pro­duced by the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Among those films was “The Dog­walker,” which was shown at the Los An­ge­les Film Fes­ti­val and won the award for Best First Fea­ture at Cinequest. The 2002 film, in which Ms. Gaidry-Walker, an abused woman, caught a flight from Buf­falo “to any­where,” had a the­atri­cal run in the Mar­ket Ar­cade Film and Arts Cen­tre in 2006.

She also starred in the Al­liance’s 2001 “Amer­ica So Beau­ti­ful,” which played at the Ber­li­nale, the Ber­lin In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val, and was the­atri­cally re­leased in Paris.

Ms. Gaidry-Walker’s nu­mer­ous short film cred­its in­clude “Trans­ac­tion,” a 2005 cinéma vérité story built around in­ter­views with a sex worker.

The film won the Grand Prix du Jury at the Cler­mont-Fer­rand In­ter­na­tional Short Film Fes­ti­val in France.

Her last movie role was in the

2018 film, “The Rain­bow Bridge Mo­tel,” which was shot in Ni­a­gara Falls.

Her tele­vi­sion ap­pear­ances in­cluded a role on the hit series “Medium.”

Af­ter re­turn­ing to Buf­falo in 2007, Ms. Gaidry-Walker opened a life­coach­ing busi­ness, “Vérité,” which means “Truth.”

In her mis­sion state­ment, she wrote, “I as­sist my clients in iden­ti­fy­ing their au­then­tic voice as op­posed to the voice of the in­ner critic. I hold a safe space for my clients to ex­am­ine and chal­lenge per­spec­tives and pat­terns that may be lim­it­ing their ful­fill­ment and joy.”

Her cancer di­ag­no­sis, she wrote, height­ened her “per­spec­tive and ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the pre­cious­ness and pos­si­bil­i­ties in ev­ery mo­ment.”

Ms. Gaidry-Walker ap­peared in many lo­cal the­atri­cal pro­duc­tions over the years, mostly with cut­tingedge Torn Space The­ater, where she ap­peared in “Store­house,” “Mo­tion Pic­ture,” “Un­cle Vanya,” “Blood on the Cat’s Neck,” “He Who Gets Slapped,” “Pro­ces­sion” and “Trace.”

At Sub­ver­sive Theatre, she ap­peared in “In the Be­gin­ning,” and for the Irish Clas­si­cal Theatre Co., she played Dona Lu­cia in “Charley’s Aunt” and Mary Ty­rone in Eu­gene O’Neill’s “Long Day’s Jour­ney Into Night.”

In 2012, she acted in the onewoman show “we are not afraid of the dark,” in six cities in Europe and nar­rated the au­dio­book “Safe Har­bor.”

Ms. Gaidry-Walker’s work with ex­per­i­men­tal di­rec­tor Richard Fore­man on the Bridge Project re­sulted in the film “Once Ev­ery Day,” which was screened at the 50th New York Film Fes­ti­val in 2012.

Be­sides her par­ents and brother, Ms. Gaidry-Walker is sur­vived by her step­mother, Betsy Gaidry; her hus­band, Thomas K. Walker; two step­daugh­ters, Bella and Tess Walker; and a step­son, Ian Walker.

The fam­ily plans a cel­e­bra­tion of her life in the spring.

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