Oscar Brockett, Leading Theatre Historian, Dies at 87

Obituaries   Oscar Brockett, Leading Theatre Historian, Dies at 87
Oscar Brockett, a prominent theatre historian who authored the ubiquitous college text "History of the Theatre," died Nov. 6 after suffering a massive stroke. He was 87.

Mr. Brockett's many books included "The Essential Theatre," "Century of Innovation: A History of European and American Theatre and Drama Since the Late Nineteenth Century" (with Robert Findlay), "World Drama," "Modern Theatre: Realism and Naturalism to the Present" and "The Theatre: An Introduction." His most recent book, "Making the Scene: A History of Stage Design and Technology in Europe and the United States," was published in January with Margaret Mitchell and Linda Hardberger.

His 1968 work "History of the Theatre" is now in its tenth edition, and has since been translated into dozens of languages, including Farsi.

His teaching career began at the University of Kentucky, and he went on to teach at Stanford, Stetson University, the University of Iowa, and Bristol University in England. In 1963, he began a 15-year tenure at the University of Bloomington, Illinois. He settled in Austin, working at the University of Texas, during the late 1970s. Brockett served as dean of the College of Fine Arts from 1978 to 1980. He left the post to run the department of theatre and dance's doctorate program.

In 2001, the Winship Drama Building's Theatre Room was renamed the Oscar G. Brockett Theatre in his honor.

Mr. Brockett was a past editor of "Theatre Journal" and the "Theatre and Drama Series" published by UMI Research Press. He was a Guggenheim Fellow and winner of a Fulbright Award. Oscar Brockett was born in rural Tennessee to a family that grew tobacco. He earned his BA from Peabody College and his MA and PhD from Stanford University. He was known to most of his colleagues as "Brock."

In lieu of flowers, the family asked that contributions be sent to the Oscar G. Brockett Theatre Endowment, Department of Theatre and Dance, University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station-D3900, Austin, TX 78712-0362.

A public memorial service at UT is being planned.

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