CHIPPEWA FALLS — A Chippewa Falls native who became an actor will live on in a film being released five years after he died. 

Guy Adkins, who grew up in Chippewa Falls before acting in Chicago and New York, died of colon cancer in 2010 at age 41. The movie “The David Dance,” in which he stars, began showing Monday night at the Micon Cinemas downtown budget theater in Eau Claire and is being viewed on the independent film circuit.  

Adkins’ sister Jill Hietpas was eager to see the film starring her brother and planned to watch it Monday. 

“It will probably be a little emotional,” Hietpas said Monday afternoon, hours before watching the movie. “We’ve seen short clips at his memorial. It will be surreal and fun to see him again.”

Jerry Way, a retired Chippewa Falls High School choir director, also planned to view the movie Monday. He recalled meeting Adkins when Guy was a young Cub Scout.

“I never heard a young boy read with such expression,” Way said.

Way said Adkins started performing in various community plays, such as “The Velveteen Rabbit,” while in high school. 

“He was in every music group in Chi-Hi,” Way said of Adkins. “He was a real leader in all those things. He could sing, he could dance, he could act and he was exquisite.”

Following high school, Adkins attended UW-Stevens Point. After graduation he moved to Chicago and appeared in several musicals.

“It didn’t take him very long to get lead roles in musical productions,” Way said.

Adkins later moved to New York, where he landed a small role in the TV show “30 Rock.”

“He came back and did a concert at the Heyde Center about 10 years ago,” Way recalled. “It was packed. It was a great show.”

During his time in New York, Adkins landed the role in “The David Dance.” The movie website describes the film as “David, the host of a local gay radio show in Buffalo, N.Y., struggles with self-doubt when his single sister asks him to be the father figure for her soon-to-be adopted Brazilian child.” 

During filming, in about 2008, Adkins was diagnosed with colon cancer.

“He was shooting the movie, probably not feeling the best,” Hietpas said.

“The David Dance” is finally finished and has been shown at film festivals around the U.S., including New York and Chicago.

“We are fortunate (to get it). This is an opportunity for us to see it,” Hietpas said.

Tammy Brice met Adkins when they were 5 years old, and the duo became lifelong friends. Brice no longer lives in the Chippewa Valley, so she won’t be able to see the movie here, but she hopes it becomes available for purchase soon. She said Adkins always loved to perform.

“We didn’t sell lemonade at a stand, we sold scripts, songs, anything that could entertain people,” Brice recalled. “Guy was extremely talented and had an amazing career in Chicago.”

As his cancer developed, Adkins wrote a blog, which has been turned into a memoir titled “Notes From a Candyman.” Brice said Adkins didn’t hold anything back regarding his roller coaster ride fighting cancer, but overall he remained positive.

“His very last words, before he died, were ‘Choose to be happy,’ ” Brice said.

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