It is with sorrow that Square One Publishers shares the following news: Taking Woodstock author and all around force-of-nature Elliot Tiber passed away in Boca Raton, Florida on Wednesday, August 3, 2016 while in hospice following complications due to stroke. He was 81 years old.
In addition to Taking Woodstock, Mr. Tiber wrote two other acclaimed memoirs with Square One: a "prequel" memoir, Palm Trees on the Hudson, and a "sequel" memoir, After Woodstock. Mr. Tiber's book about the Woodstock Festival of 1969 was turned into the acclaimed 2009 feature film from Oscar-winning director Ang Lee and Oscar-winning producer/screenwriter James Schamus. The film starred talented actor/comedian Demetri Martin as Elliot along with Eugene Levy as Max Yasgur and Jonathan Groff as the Woodstock Ventures promoter and leader Michael Lang. In fond remembrance of Mr. Tiber, the following key statements have been offered to the public among many others:
"Elliot was part of the magic of Woodstock. Without his phone call bringing me to Bethel, Woodstock might never have happened, and for that I am eternally grateful." —Mike Lang
"One day in San Francisco, a total stranger gave me a book, and a couple of years later, I ended up making a movie from it. I still find this astonishing, but the stranger happened to be Elliot Tiber, one of the most interesting—and talkative—people I've ever met; and the book was Taking Woodstock, his wonderful memoir of that last moment of innocence in 1969. It was a privlege for me to share a part of Elliot Tiber's life, and history on screen. I will miss him." —Ang Lee
"It was an honor to portray Elliot not just because of the role he played in making Woodstock happen, but even more so because of the courage and candor with which he lived his life and shared his story." —Demetri Martin
"Elliot Tiber was a larger-than-life character, whose story and spirit was a great gift to Ang [Lee] and me; it was an honor to help share his story with the world. He'll be missed." —James Schamus
"Elliot was a unique personage, a chronicler of his tumultuous times as well as a formidable participant. We met through the film Rue Haute (High Street), which I presented at the 92nd Street Y and included in my book about Holocaust Cinema: he wrote the screenplay for this fine drama directed by his partner André Ernotte. His expansive personality will be missed." —Annette Insdorf, Columbia University Film Professor and author of Holocaust cinema classic Indelible Shadows: Film and the Holocaust.
To learn more about Mr. Tiber's legacy as a writer and a proudly gay man, together with the pivotal role he played in saving the legendary 1969 Woodstock Arts & Music Festival from cancellation, we invite you to read the excellent obituary from Bill Grimes for The New York Times. Rest in Peace, Elliot - thanks for sharing your freedom with us all . . .