U theater alumnus killed in accident

Chase Korte, 24, died in a car accident in Los Angeles on Saturday.

by Conrad Wilson

Chase Korte, a University theater alumnus, died Saturday night in a car accident on his way to his Los Angeles home after a film shoot in Sedona, Ariz. He was 24.

Korte graduated from the University in fall 2005 as an accomplished actor with a promising career and a compulsive personality, friends said.

During his college career, Korte once drove to St. Louis by himself because he wanted to eat at his favorite restaurant and listen to blues music, said Brant Miller, a theater senior and longtime friend.

Another time, Korte flew to Los Angeles for the day to see the ocean, said Nick Ryan, a University graduate who was a former roommate and friend of Korte.

“I was like, ‘Chase, normal people don’t do that,’ ” he said, laughing.

Everyone remembers the first time they met Korte, said Jason Ballweber, a University theater alumnus who directed a show Korte performed in.

“Whenever we’re talking about him the one thing everyone has is the great first time I met Chase story,” Ballweber said. “Every single person remembers what happened when they met him and every single time it’s a great story.”

A hard worker to say the least, Korte was constantly thinking about the roles he was playing and the scripts he was working from, friends said.

“He was so sincere and one of the most humble actors I’ve ever worked with, because he was indescribable,” said Lisa Bol, a friend and University theater graduate who performed in a show with Korte. “He was amazing to watch, very methodical and very much engaged in his work. He put himself into his characters. There were no barriers when you met him. He was very friendly and open.”

Ryan Underbakke, a friend and fellow University theater graduate, recalled a conversation he had with Korte at a Los Angeles bar.

“This is what I want to do with my life,” Korte told Underbakke.

“He wanted to be a celebrity, I think,” Underbakke said. “And I think he wanted to be a celebrity because I think he wanted to say something.”

The film he was working on last, “Peace Walker,” was one that was important to him, Underbakke said. “Chase told me, ‘Most of the time in Los Angeles you spend years of your life selling out so you can do what you want, do independent films that you care about Ö this, what I’m doing right now, is what I hope to be doing in 10 years.'”

Korte was in Sedona finishing the independent film about a man who walks across the United Kingdom as a tribute to his brother who died in Iraq.

While shooting this film, Korte walked across the entirety of the United Kingdom, Ryan said.

“The thing that’s most important, I think, is that everyone quit but Chase,” Ballweber said. “The camera man quit, the sound person quit, everyone walked off. It was just the director and Chase.”

A memorial service will be held at Elk River High School from 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday.