So Long Sam

Posted on Nov 24, 2016

New Old Time Chautauqua mourns the passing of beloved longtime Chautauquan and Flying Karamazov Brother Sam Williams.

If we were able, we'd probably ask Sam to write this post, as he had a way with words and humor that was endearing, entertaining, and often moving. But, as we are now without Sam (aka Smerdyakov Karamazov), we will have to do as well as we can...

On Thursday, November 17th, Sam was driving a Seattle Metro bus (as he was wont to do...) on the Alaskan Way Viaduct, when he suffered a fatal heart attack. He managed to warn his riders, stop the bus, and avoid further catastrophe. His dramatic last stand was the subject of many news stories. For all of us who knew him or even just saw him perform, his loss will always be a heart-break.

Sam began solo performing as Samwise, Juggler Intraordinaire, and then partnered with Bliss Kolb as part of Laughing Moon Theater, before joining the Flying Karamazov Brothers.

Sam was scheduled to perform in our December shows in Port Townsend. Who knows what he would have presented us with this time - in recent years he created his "Floaty Head" character that always had us all in stitches (even when his pants weren't falling down). He also deftly touched on the perils of time and aging with his ‘Old Fat Juggler’ to the tune of Old Man River. Luckily we have many videos and photos and memories of Sam to console ourselves with, but we sure will miss having him on stage, on the bus, and giving us all that magical twinkly smile. He is survived by his twin sons Josh and Zach, his brother Matt, and parents Halsey and Barbara.


One of the funniest of the funny of us,
 One of the kindest and smartest of us
 Look--Mr Floaty Head has morphed
 into a shiny star in the sky.
 May we all love a little deeper,
 Hold our loved ones a little closer
 And laugh a lot more.

 ~Joanne Murayama