Tributes paid to Edinburgh-born actress killed in US accident

Gillian Seidl died after being struck by a pick-up truck. Picture: contributed
Gillian Seidl died after being struck by a pick-up truck. Picture: contributed

Tributes have poured in for an Edinburgh-born woman who was killed in a road traffic accident in America.

Gillian Seidl was making her way to her local library when she was struck by a pick-up truck on Route 7 in Sheffield, Massachusetts, last week.

The 78 year-old, who described herself as an independent Arts and Crafts professional on her LinkedIn profile, was using a pedestrian crossing when the incident took place around 6.15pm according to police.

Gillian is understood to have grown up in the Capital and attended Edinburgh College of Speech and Drama from 1955-1958.

She then went on to teach speech and drama in Aberdeen for two years before moving to the United States.

She had just participated in a weekend celebration of Ackermann’s work at Shakespeare & Company.

In a death notice published in the Evening News, her family paid tribute to her.

They wrote: “Tragically in an accident on April 24, 2017.

“Dearly beloved wife, mother, grandmother and step-sister.”

Gillian was pronounced dead at the scene - which was just a stone’s throw from the library she had been hoping to attend to participate in a film screening - on Monday April 24.

According to a local newspaper in the Berkshire County, she was well known in her community as she was a member of the town’s Cultural Council and co-founder of Mixed Company - Berkshire County’s oldest year-round theatre.

Her son-in-law, Charlie Derr, posted a tribute on Facebook describing her as “a wonderful actor, artist and person” who will be greatly missed by all around her.

He said: “She leaves behind her three children and their families, her son James, her daughters Anna and Michelle (my wife), but most of all, her loving husband Jirka (George), who loved her for 50+ years with all of his heart. Life is precious.”

As well as acting, Gillian began painting later in life and regularly exhibited her work, according to the Stockbridge Library website in America.

Social media users had fond memories of the Scot, with many branding her a “talented actress”.

Anne Undeland said she met Gillian 20 years ago and worked with her on many occasions.

She described her as a “great artist” with “incredible personal warmth.”

She said: “Gillian was a real light in the Berkshire theatrical world,

“She was funny and wise and loved and very talented. She was wonderful onstage and off.”

Dozens attended Gillian’s funeral which was held on Sunday April 30.

The accident is under investigation by Sheffield police, the Berkshire District Attorney’s Office, and the Massachusetts State Police Collision Analysis & Reconstruction Section.

courtney.cameron@jpress.co.uk