Cornelison – well known stage/screen actor & Atlantic native died Saturday


October 17th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Mike Cornelison

The family of Des Moines stage and film actor and Atlantic native, Michael Cornelison, says the 59-year old died Saturday, from liver complications. Mike’s son Nick told the Des Moines Register his father had been in declining health for 10 days and had lived with liver problems for many years. In 1993, following a surgery, doctors estimated he would only live another 10 years.

Throughout the weekend, condolences and remembrances were posted on Cornelison’s Facebook page, where his death was first announced on Saturday by his son. Cornelison graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City and made a career of acting in Hollywood and in Iowa. In Des Moines, Cornelison worked with the Des Moines Playhouse, StageWest Theatre Company and Charlie’s Playhouse.

He acted in feature films alongside Bill Murray in “Where the Buffalo Roam,” Albert Brooks in “Lost in America” and fellow Iowan Tom Arnold in “The Final Season.” After a stint in Hollywood between 1978 and 1984, Cornelison returned to Iowa, where he became involved not only in stage productions, but Iowa independent films.

Cornelison was a movie buff and loved popular culture, especially filmmaking, old horror movies, comic books and jazz music, said his son. A memorial service is being planned at the Des Moines Playhouse. The date and time have yet to be announced.