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Remembering Doug Jackson

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) There are two groups of people in mourning in Cedar Rapids. Those who knew and loved actor and singer Doug Jackson and those who are just now realizing they missed the opportunity to meet one of the most incredible human beings to ever grace the stage.

Jackson passed away over the weekend after a six year battle with prostate cancer. Those who sang with him, acted with him and loved his cheerful bear hugs say they will likely never again meet anyone like Doug.

For decades he was a larger than life character who appeared in dozens of productions. Gazette Arts and Entertainment Editor Diana Nollen says you can point to nearly any church, nightclub or theater stage in town and at one time or another Jackson performed there. Nollen considered him part of her family and says she has cried her tears and will miss Dougs beaming smile, incredible heart, and talent, He just stepped out on stage during The Follies and people started applauding and cheering.  He hadnt even sung anything yet, but it was like Doug is here .. all is right with the world.

The marquee at Theatre Cedar Rapids says in bold letters WE WILL MISS YOU D.J.   Its just one of the places where he lit up the stage in diverse blockbusters like Big River, Driving Miss Daisy, The Full Monty, Little Shop of Horrors, Jesus Christ Superstar and Home for the Holidays.

TCR Executive Director Casey Prince says when he first moved to the community he wasnt familiar with Jacksons reputation and body of work, but quickly realized his impact, He was a force .. when he walked into a room people would wait their turn just to be able to say hi to him and he gave everyone his time.

Prince says it was always an honor to share the stage with Jackson and he can remember the hair standing up on the back of his neck every night of one production when cast members walked on stage to join Doug as he sang the song  Stand By Me. 

He especially remembers the day Doug was supposed to sing the first dance song for Princes wedding.  He says in true dramatic style, Jackson breezed in the door a moment before, grabbed the microphone and sang the song perfectly.  In fact it was the song many considered to be his signature .. What a Wonderful World.

Nollen says even though shes had time to think about Dougs passing, it will take longer to grasp the notion that hes gone, We all just gravitated to him, like moths to a flame.    
As of Tuesday night, funeral services were still pending.  Actor, singer, performer, friend, Doug Jackson was 60 years old.
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