Ronald Bruce Link— so named by his mother after Ronald Colman and Bruce Cabot— started out in theater as a stage manager for the Fantasticks, Little Mary Sunshine, and Leave It to Jane. I met him at a Village dive called Lenny’s Hideaway, and later he designed the stark-white asylum set for my play The Bed (1965) at Caffe Cino. Following this, Ronnie— as everyone called him— served as director for my next opus, Why Tuesday Never Has a Blue Monday (1966), with Marilyn Roberts playing a Monroe-like movie star on the verge of a nervous breakdown, produced by Ellen Stewart at La MaMa on Second Avenue.
Ron’s sense of the absurd and his outrageous theatrical flamboyance permeated everything he had a hand in. During his early directorial career he gave first jobs to Robert De Niro— in Jackie Curtis’s Galmour, Glory and Gold starring Candy Darling; to Sylvester Stallone, as the young hero-stud opposite Roz Kelly in Rain; and to a nude Barry Bostwick in a Gregory Rozakis play called The Whores of Broadway. Ron directed two Tom Eyen Off-Broadway hits: Women Behind Bars and Neon Women, both of which starred Divine, Madeline La Roux, Helen Hanft, and Lady Hope Stansbury. In Los Angeles he continuously directed new plays at the Mark Taper Forum and other theaters.
Ron died in a Los Angeles hospital of heart failure on June 7, leaving behind his longtime companion, Dan Gerrity; his brother Carson of New York; and his mother Rita and sister Elizabeth, both of Columbus, Ohio. Columbus was the same town Tom Eyen was from, and in the old Village days these two best pals became a happy duet, spontaneously bursting into their own rendition of a song from Wonderful Town, chanting in an uproarious style at parties, in a bar, or on the street: “Why oh why oh why oh why did we ever leave Ohio? Maybe we’d better go O-H-I-O. Maybe we’d better go home.”