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April 13, 1963 ~ September 18, 2023 (age 60) 60 Years Old
Bryan Van Campen, beloved son of Darrel and Orlene (Crone) Van Campen, passed away unexpectedly
on September 18, 2023.
A lifelong resident of the Ithaca area, Bryan was born in Tompkins Community Hospital on April 13,
1963. He was active in the performing arts throughout his life—taking great joy in working with the
Ithaca Shakespeare Company, the Dryden Footlighters, the Firehouse Theatre, and numerous other
groups over the years.
Bryan was a gifted musician, especially on the guitar, writing and performing many of his own
compositions. Inspired in equal measures by the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Buck Owens, and Roy Clark, his
music was humorous and thought provoking.
An avid puppet maker from his days at Dewitt Middle School, he drew inspiration from life and the
Muppets. His puppets—whether made for himself, like Sheldon the Sheep, or on commission for friends
and acquaintances—were individual and had distinct personalities.
Bryan was also active in the local stand-up comedy scene and did a stint as a DJ at WVBR.
But above his many other contributions to the local arts scene, Bryan will be best remembered for his
many years reviewing movies, which began in the 1980s for the Grapevine and continued for more than
30 years at the Ithaca Times. For a decade, he was known to local TV viewers as the co-host of “Take
Two,” a live, weekly “Siskel & Ebert”-style movie review show on cable access.
Bryan adored movies and collected many hundreds of titles on DVD; he embraced arthouse cinema,
Hollywood blockbusters, and everything in between. His criticism was passionate, thoughtful, and
always entertaining—sometimes more than the films themselves.
A graduate of Ithaca High School, Bryan studied theater at SUNY New Paltz and earned an associate’s
degree in radio and television from Tompkins Cortland Community College.
Bryan’s parents predeceased him. He is survived by his brothers Anthony (Valerie) Van Campen of
Norfolk, VA, and John (Debbie) Tassone of Jupiter, FL, as well as his beloved cat, Ajax Panther.