He was a native of Brooklyn, NY and the son of the late Libertad and Luz Cruz.
Nils owned Beltone Hearing Aids for over thirty years and was a long-time fixture in regional theatre. He directed and acted in plays at theatres all across the Tri-Cities. He co-created and directed The Wataugans for many years (now known as Liberty!). He acted in episodes of I-40 Paradise (1983-1986), Delta Force 2 (1990), Ernest Scared Stupid (1991), Above Suspicion (2000), The Do-Over (2016), Masterminds (2016). Nils wrote, directed and starred in Delayed Vengeance (1996), which he premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. His acting and directing started at a young age when he co-created N.E.W. Productions and opened the Key Theatre in New York City.
Nils was preceded in death by his parents, wife, Betty Joan and son, Nils L. Cruz, Jr. (Wendy).
He is survived by his sons, Niles A. Cruz and Nilson Neuschotz; daughters, Leyla Cruz (Vincent Thompson) and Nilsa Cruz-Sullivan (Patrick Sullivan); brothers, Niles Cruz (Kathy Rice-Cruz) and Ron Cruz (Ana); as well as several nieces, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Nils' name to Jonesborough Repertory Theatre, 125 W. Main St. Jonesborough, TN 37659, or Johnson City Community Theatre, 600 E. Maple St. Johnson City, TN 37601.
Appalachian Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Johnson City, is serving the Cruz family. (423) 928-6111.
A memorial service will be held in New York City at a later date.