The body of Andy Neiman, whose May 21 disappearance sparked a region-wide search by local officials, family, friends, and volunteers, was found Thursday on the shore of the Hudson River in Poughkeepsie. The Dutchess County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed his identity based on dental records provided by his family on Friday afternoon. No official cause of death has been determined yet.
Neiman, 48, was last seen leaving the MidHudson Hospital in Poughkeepsie on May 21. He suffered from recurring bouts of mental illness in recent months and had come to the Hudson Valley seeking help from his sister Emily Asher Abramson who lives in High Falls. He had been checked into the hospital earlier that Friday but left after waiting 14 hours for a room.
As the weeks went by, friends and strangers alike have been moved by the anguish of the Neiman family. They’ve searched, prayed, raised money, brought the family meals. “Andy has been blanketed in so much love while we were looking for him, with so many saying his name and posting flyers,” said Simon Abramson, Andy’s brother-in-law. “We hope that helped ease his passage.”
Andrew Michael Neiman was born 48 years ago in St. Louis, one of three siblings. He graduated from Wesleyan University, got an MFA from the University of Connecticut., and made his career in theater as an actor, performing musicals and dramas. He was a director, screenwriter and an adaptor of William Shakespeare. He seemed to have a special love for the Bard, both as a performer and as a theater educator.
After university, he lived in New York, where he sometimes co-wrote plays with his younger brother David, and in Chicago, before returning to St. Louis. He and his wife, Louise Edwards, were raising eight-year-old Elyiah. He is also survived by his mother Lainie Neiman and her partner Richard Goldberg of St. Louis; his father Bennett, Bennett’s wife Sandi and Andy’s half-sister Elizabeth and her fiancé Zachary Robbins, who live in Austin; and David’s fiancé, Amanda Lavin.
Andy’s family plans a foundation to support theater students, a tribute to his passion for the stage. When Emily posted Andy’s fate on Facebook, she added a photo (below), explaining, “Here is Andy starring in perhaps my favorite role he ever played: Siddhartha. [A spiritual seeker who chose to spend his life by an inspirational river.] I think there could be no photo more fitting to capture the life long suffering my biggest brother contended with and the arrival at an enlightened release of his pain. May your soul rest easy, Andy.”
A memorial service for Andy Neiman will be live-streamed on Friday, June 25 at 11 a.m. CDT/12 p.m. EST at andyneiman.com.