Thursday, September 24, 2009

In Memoriam: Harry Donovan, 1943-2009 (from PLSN online)

Harry Donovan, an engineer who was one of the country's best-known and most experienced riggers and author of Entertainment Rigging, died Sept. 23 after an ongoing battle with cancer.

Donovan, who toured with KISS, David Bowie, Elton John, The Eagles, Rod Stewart, Aerosmith, Bruce Springsteen, The Who, Paula Abdul, REO Speedwagon, and many others during a touring career lasting 22 years, rigged over 200,000 points for some 4,000 staged performances without failure.

Donovan then founded Seattle-based Donovan Rigging Inc., which handled rigging, contracting, consulting and training, and he published Entertainment Rigging in 2002.

By organizing arena rigging into a few simple engineering principles, practical rules of thumb, and safe working techniques, Donovan was able to present information that was immediately useful to riggers and managers through his book and his public and private training seminars.

Donovan, a longtime member of IATSE, USITT, and ESTA, also helped promote rigging certificates.

The son of a marine engineer, Donovan was raised in Connecticut and Maine and grew to share his father’s love of sailing, spending free time in his later years aboard his 52-foot sailboat on the coastal waters of the Pacific Northwest, often accompanied by fellow crew members from his touring days. He is survived by his wife, Patty.