Aileen Caldonna Kilburn
Aileen Kilburn was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1949. She was the fourth child of Dorothy and Clarence Kilburn Sr. who went on to have a total of ten children from this union. Her extended family includes a Jamaican born brother and sister of Clarence Kilburn Sr.
As a child, Aileen caught the acting bug and loved acting and performing. She went on to act in many plays at Karamu Theater and The Cleveland Playhouse. As she studied various actors in movies, she decided to pursue a lifelong dream of becoming a star.
Growing up, Aileen attended all Catholic schools and graduated from St Peter’s High School in 1968. After graduation she wanted to move to New York City to work on her acting career, but her mother told her she had to wait until she was 21 to leave home. Aileen spent the next two years at Cuyahoga Community College studying acting, theater, and modern dance.
Finally reaching the age of 21, Aileen ventured to New York to pursue her acting career. She lived with her cousin Pearl in the Bronx until she got on her feet. In the 70’s, she worked two jobs and continued to study acting attending Circle in the Square and HV Studio. She was an excellent typist with a rate of 86 words per minute. Eventually, Aileen moved into a bustling Manhattan apartment in the Theater District and never left. She worked at the Rivoli Theater on Broadway as an usher. She would go on to hold this job for 43 years taking pictures with big name stars such as George C. Scott, Harrison Ford, Denzel Washington, and her personal favorite, Patty Duke.
Aileen became an official card carrying actor joining SAG (Screen Actors Guild) and AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists). She became a background artist in many movies such as, For Colored Girls Only, New Jack City, The Super, Pootie Tang, Ransom, Margaret, and Enchanted. She starred in The Shoeshine Parlor at the Adam Clayton Powell Theater. Aileen had a recurring role in the original series of Law and Order as a juror. She also appeared in soap operas such as All My Children, One Life to Live, and Love of Life. She was in a few commercials and made as much as $1,500 in one day.
Developing an interest in playwriting and screenwriting, Aileen began to study at the Frederick Douglas Creative Arts Center and Frank Silvera’s Writer’s Workshop. She was one of the founders of a church theater group called Alpha and Omega. At small venues she produced Good Sister Aeddy, Prisoners of Illusion, and The Grieving Family. Aileen went on to produce and star in Eddie Heartbreaker Malone and The Road to Recovery.
A devout Catholic and member of Holy Cross in Manhattan, Aileen enjoyed singing in the church choir. She would perform with the choir during the Easter season, but would never be available for the Christmas season. Due to her strong family ties, she would always find her way home for a two week stay to choose the family Christmas tree, shop for presents, and spend time with all her many nieces and nephews.
On Saturday, January 30, 2021, Aileen departed this earth and went on to become an eternal star in heaven. She is survived by her brothers and sisters, Audley, Leleith, Yvonne, Michael Sr., (Denise), Yolanda (Robert Jr.), Joseph, and Barry; nieces and nephews, Vinnette, Sean, Wavell, Jermaine, LaShon (Katrina), Aesha, Gina (Laurence), LaKeisha, Ashley, Cherice (Jeremy), Crystal, Candace (Daniel), Michael Jr., Robert III (Amanda), Anthony, Chelsey, Cameron, Clarence III, Marcus, Dakota, Henry (Kathia), Marvyn, Judy, Peter, Wade, Alicia, Raheem, and Theresa. She was preceded in death by her parents, Dorothy and Clarence Sr.; brothers, Albert, Anton, Clarence Jr.; and sister, Marvis.
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