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F. Curtis Canfield; Yale Dean, TV Drama Pioneer

June 28, 1986|From Times Wire Services

AMHERST, Mass. — F. Curtis Canfield, the first dean of the Yale University School of Drama and the man who both directed thousands of young actors and brought live drama to television in that medium's formative years, is dead.

Canfield was 82 when he died June 8 in a hospital here after a brief illness, said Amherst College spokesman Douglas Wilson this week.

Canfield left Amherst College in 1955 after 28 years as drama professor and director of more than 200 student productions to become chairman of the drama department and then dean when Yale established a separate graduate school. While still at Amherst, he was chosen to direct the 1949 production of "Julius Caesar" that marked the opening of the theater in the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington.

He left Yale in 1967 to become professor of theater arts at the University of Pittsburgh. He had lived in Amherst since his retirement in 1973.

From July to September of 1949 he produced a series of eight live half-hour dramas on NBC that featured little-known actors in short plays by Thornton Wilder, Edna St. Vincent Millay and others.

Other live performances he either produced or directed for TV included "Hedda Gabler," "Richard III," "Othello," "The Rivals" and "Uncle Vanya."

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