Robert Harris Chapman, Harvard Drama Professor and Playwright, Dead at 81

News   Robert Harris Chapman, Harvard Drama Professor and Playwright, Dead at 81 Robert Harris Chapman, a former Harvard professor and co author of a Broadway play based on Herman Melville's "Billy Budd," died Sept. 27 in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, The New York Times reported.

Robert Harris Chapman, a former Harvard professor and co author of a Broadway play based on Herman Melville's "Billy Budd," died Sept. 27 in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, The New York Times reported.

Mr. Chapman was 81 and was a retired Harvard University English and drama teacher who taught a popular course, "Drama Since Ibsen." He began teaching at Harvard in 1950, and in 1951, Billy Budd (penned with Louis O. Coxe) opened at Broadway's Biltmore Theatre. It was made into a film in 1962.

He retired from Harvard in 1989 and was a full professor. The paper reported that Mr. Chapman was director of Loeb Drama Center at Harvard (1960-80). The initiative had two theatres for student productions.

Among his students were Lincoln Center Theater's Andre Bishop, playwright Arthur Kopit and actors Tommy Lee Jones and John Lithgow.

Mr. Chapman held academic positions at Princeton and the University of California at Berkeley. He was director of Princeton Triangle Club and the University Players of Princeton. He was also a consultant to Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (1956-58) and was a scriptwriter and consultant to David O. Selznick.

— By Kenneth Jones