Linda Lee Jacobs, the indefatigable and vivacious former publicist at Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis, died Thursday at Hennepin County Medical Center. She had suffered from hepatitis C.
Jacobs, 64, was the theater’s communications manager from 1997 to 2007. It was a crucial decade of growth that saw CTC expand into its new Cargill Stage and become the nation’s first family-focused company to win a regional Tony Award.
“She was my energetic, intelligent and witty partner,” said artistic director Peter Brosius. “Linda was a fireball who lit up the company. We’re all rocked by losing her.”
Jacobs was born in Kenosha, Wis., to stage entertainer Janet Jacobs and advertising executive Sinclair “Tory” Jacobs. When Linda was 5, the family moved to New York. From childhood, she had a lot of pluck and determination, her mother said.
Janet Jacobs recalled that she and her parents traveled to Paris in 1969, leaving teenage Linda back home in New York.
“She booked herself on a flight to Luxembourg,” said Janet Jacobs. “One night at midnight in Paris, I get a call. And I couldn’t believe it. We met her off the bus in a square at 3 a.m. The trip took 19 hours, and she was totally bedraggled, but she wasn’t going to miss out on the family fun.”
After graduating from prestigious Hunter College High School, Jacobs worked as a receptionist at a New York ad agency, where she was promoted to copywriter in six months.
She moved to the Twin Cities in 1985 and began work at a financial-services firm. But she came alive, her mother said, when she took a job doing publicity and much else for Dudley Riggs’ Brave New Workshop.
She spent five years there before landing at Children’s Theatre, where she bonded with many, including managing director Teresa Eyring. When Eyring became head of the Theatre Communications Group, the nonprofit theater industry’s New York-based advocacy group, she lured Jacobs to Manhattan.
Jacobs was twice married and divorced. Her first husband was Michael Rosa, a drummer for various bands who also served as road manager for the Pointer Sisters and the Temptations. She remained close friends with her second husband, Twin Cities residential remodeler Jonathan Kalstrom.
“She was one of the most warmhearted people I’ve ever met,” Kalstrom said. “She was a big hugger — always hugged everyone.”
In addition to her mother, Jacobs’ survivors include stepfather Ted Fine and many cousins. A memorial service is being planned.
“As Tiger Lily said to Peter Pan, you are the moon, the stars and the sun,” Janet Jacobs said. “That’s what Linda was to us.”