Comic actor Clint Griffey dies at 36

Clint Griffey, a popular actor who had performed almost exclusively for the Martin City Melodrama and Vaudeville Company, has died.

Jeanne Beechwood, artistic director of the company, said Griffey died Jan. 7 at the University of Kansas Hospital from liver and kidney failure. He was 36.

Griffey most recently appeared in the company’s holiday show, “Mother Goose’s Nursery Crimes,” which closed Jan. 1, but was unable to finish the run after he fell ill.

Griffey was born in Warrensburg and grew up in Sedalia. He first appeared in Martin City shows at the theater’s original location near 135th Street and Holmes Road, beginning in 1997. He later moved to New York, where he studied at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy and pursued work as an actor. After several years, he returned and resumed performing at Martin City.

“He literally landed at the airport and came directly to Martin City and asked if he had a job,” Beechwood said. She said Griffey was one of handful of actors who had performed at the troupe’s first location in Martin City and at its current home in Metcalf South Shopping Center in Overland Park.

Griffey, of Belton, had appeared in 25 Martin City productions, and Beechwood estimated that at least 45,000 patrons had seen him perform through the years.

A gifted comic actor, Griffey could have worked at other theaters in Kansas City, but he remained loyal to Martin City.

“He loved making something new and creating a brand-new character,” Beechwood said. “He loved the process. He loved doing it. He loved theater and he loved being onstage, no matter what.”

Visitation will be at 12:30 p.m., followed by a memorial service at 1 p.m. Sunday at Mt. Moriah and Freeman Funeral Home, 10507 Holmes Road. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Martin City Melodrama & Vaudeville Company, 9601 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park, KS 66212.

Beechwood said contributions would be used to establish two scholarship funds.