Perhaps the best description of “Marnie’s Story”, is the beautiful obituary her sister Corinna wrote:
Marnie Elizabeth Cass Robidas (née Schulen- burg), 37, passed away on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, in Montclair, NJ. Marnie contained multitudes: she was a beloved wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, niece, cousin, and friend; she was an actor of great range and accomplishment; she was a singer, a gamer, a reader, a podcaster, and a yoga teacher; she was an optimist, a Cape Codder and New Yorker, a cat-wrangler, a nature-lover, a restaurant veteran, a hard worker and the life of every party; she was the one we all turned to for comfort, for laughter, for adventure, for advice on everything from fashion to relationships; she was our heart.
Marnie was born on May 21, 1984 at Cape Cod Hospital, MA, the 14th generation of her family to be born on Cape Cod. She was welcomed into the world by her mother Candy, her father John, and her siblings, Corrina and Allan. Her early years were full of imaginary games and adventure, with recurring trips to Sandy Neck and Stowe, VT. She also manifested her profound love for animals in the ways she cared for the German Shepherds (and one long-lived cat) that were her pets.
By the time she attended Barnstable High School, Marnie was truly flourishing. In both show choir and drama, she gave performances of depth and power that seemed beyond her years. She also ran cross country(BHS Div. I State Champions) and worked summers with her brother Allan at the same restaurant her parents had worked at many years ago. Through these activities, Marnie forged life-long relationships that were more than just friendships. They were family. That is how she loved people: so deeply, and with such abiding care, that friends inevitably became family.
These two themes—of flourishing talent and nourishing relationships— continued when she studied theatre at Desales University. It was there that Marnie met the great love of her life, her husband, Zack Robidas. Zack is also an actor, and together, they challenged and inspired each other to grow as artists and people. At Desales, Marnie gave many unforgettable performances, including Sally Bowes in Cabaret. She also found one of her creative homes, the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival (PSF).
Upon graduating from DeSales in 2006, Marnie moved to Astoria in New
York City. She lived first with her sister Corinna and then with Zack, as well as her cat Arwen, famous for her ferocity toward everyone but Marnie.
Marnie quickly found success as a professional actor. In 2007, she took on the role of Alison Stewart on the CBS soap opera As the World Turns, for which she earned a Daytime Emmy Award nomination. She also appeared on shows like Royal Pains, Blue Bloods, and Army Wives, and will appear in upcoming episodes of City on a Hill. She continued to play lead roles at PSF, including As You Like It, where she played Rosalind to her husband Zack’s Orlando. And she found her second creative home with her sister’s company, Flux Theatre Ensemble, where she starred in plays like Pretty Theft and Hearts Like Fists. She also launched a podcast for which she was the host, The Bloody Business of Being a Woman.
At every step of the way, Marnie’s circle of friends and family grew. And on December 12, 2019, Marnie gave birth to her daughter, Coda Jones Lindsay Robidas. It was a very joyful Christmas, with the whole family celebrating in New York City.
In May of 2020, Marnie was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, Stage IV Inflammatory Breast Cancer. Over the next two years, she brought her courage, her optimism, her sense of humor, and her love of life to every stage of the battle. The medical care she received from Memorial Sloan Kettering kept her going. She and Zack continued to look toward the future, moving into a new home in Bloomfield, NJ. She continued to care for oth- ers, even as she herself increasingly needed care. And she found it: a private Facebook group named Marnie’s Army, launched soon after her diagnosis, grew to over 800 people who loved her and prayed for and fought alongside her. On Wednesdays, Marnie’s Army would post images of candles, sunsets, and other kinds of lights to honor Marnie’s unquenchable spirit.
In the week before Marnie passed away, she returned home from the hos- pital and spent Mother’s Day with Zack and Coda. She was strong enough to sit with Coda and read her books. Coda sat in her lap and they looked at pictures from their beautiful life together.
We will never forget her. She was our heart.