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Michael Economos of Garden City dies; actuary and actor was 55

In the office or "dazzling" audiences on stage, he touched others with his high-spirited and fun-loving personality, friends and family say.  

Michael Economos as John Wellington Wells in Gilbert

Michael Economos as John Wellington Wells in Gilbert & Sullivan's "The Sorcerer." Photo Credit: The Gilbert & Sullivan Light Opera Company of Long Island

Michael Economos was an actuary by day and an actor by night, “dazzling” Long Island community theater audiences with his high-energy musical performances, those who knew him said.

The Garden City father of three died Dec. 24, just eight months after a brain tumor diagnosis. He was 55.

“It’s a comfort to all that he is at peace now,” said his wife of 20 years, Christine Economos, 55. “He’ll be in everybody’s hearts forever and, wherever we go, he is going to be with us.”

Whether he was on stage or in the office, he touched others with his high-spirited, fun-loving personality, his wife said.

Born in Brooklyn Heights on Sept. 1, 1963, Economos studied at Binghamton University, where he was a founding member of the acclaimed all-male a cappella group The Binghamton Crosbys. He earned a bachelor’s degree in physics and actuarial science in 1985 before beginning a 30-year career as an actuary.

He met his wife through friends, and the pair married in 1996 before settling in Garden City in 1998. A lifelong singer, Economos performed in the Mercer Choral Society during his years at the global consulting company where he worked from 1994 through 2011. His last position was as a principal with Conduent in Florham Park, New Jersey.

Economos joined the Gilbert and Sullivan Light Opera Company of Long Island in 2010 and was cast as Major-General Stanley in “The Pirates of Penzance.” The company performs only the works of the Victorian-era lyricist W.S. Gilbert and composer Arthur Sullivan.

“He took to it like a duck to water,” said Gayden Wren, a longtime company member who directed Economos in “A Gilbert & Sullivan Christmas Carol” and “The World According to Gilbert & Sullivan.” “You couldn’t take your eyes off him.”

He went on to take major roles in productions such as “The Sorcerer” and “H.M.S. Pinafore” and eventually became president of the theater company in 2015.

Michael and Christine Economos’ daughter Emily, 20, joined the Light Opera Company as a singer at age 14, and their daughter Rebecca, 18, became a stage manager with the company.

Economos performed at more than 100 Long Island venues during his years with the company, from the Landmark on Main Street in Port Washington to the Van Nostrand Theater at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood to church basements and library meeting rooms.

Economos first learned of the tumor in April while he was rehearsing for the role of Bunthorne in “Patience.” He continued to attend rehearsals after his first surgery, but Wren assumed the part after Economos became too sick to perform.

The company dedicated the show to Economos when it was performed at Landmark on Main Street in June. It wasn’t the same without him, Wren said.

“The Bunthorne I did was not the Bunthorne he would have done,” Wren said.

In addition to his wife and daughters, Economos is survived by a son, Richard, 26, of Queens.

No public services have been planned. Donations in his honor may be sent to Good Shepherd Hospice in Farmingdale.

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