News & Politics

Best of 2004: Emery Battis

This 18-year member of the Shakespeare Theatre company has his act together.

Emery Battis, 89, isn't about to take his final curtain call soon–he has two decades to make up for. After World War II, Battis gave up acting for 20 years to teach history at Rutgers University. Academia offered the father of five a stable income.

He returned to his first love in 1968 and hasn't been out of work since. For 18 years, he's been a member of DC's acclaimed Shakespeare Theatre company; in 2002 he received a Helen Hayes Award for lifetime achievement.

Watching the small man with the big voice scaling the heights of Elsinore, fuming with Falstaff in Henry IV, or strutting his stuff as a nobleman in Pericles–his current role–it's clear Battis is at the top his game. "I've been acting since I was 15," he says. "There's no stopping me."

Washingtonian staff contributing to this section were Chuck Conconi, Sherri Dalphonse, Susan Davidson, Mary Clare Fleury, Cynthia Hacinli, Thomas Head, Stephanie Jones, Ann Limpert, Drew Lindsay, Chad Lorenz, Leslie Milk, William O'Sullivan, Cindy Rich, and Jeremy Stahl.  Also contributing were writers Cathy Alter, Ann Cochran, and Jenny Sullivan.