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Clurman, Harold


CLURMAN, HAROLD (1901–1980), U.S. theater director and drama critic. Born in New York City, Clurman studied at Columbia University and the University of Paris. When he returned to the U.S., he became involved with the Greenwich Village Theater. In 1931 he joined with Lee *Strasberg to become the founder and director of the Group Theater, one of the most significant attempts to sustain a repertory company in the U.S. Influenced by the principles of naturalism, social consciousness, and the "method" theory of Stanislavsky, Clurman directed plays by Clifford Odets for the Group, and also several Broadway successes. The Group disbanded in 1941. While most of the members moved to Hollywood, Clurman stayed on and directed a series of important plays on Broadway, including The Member of the Wedding (1950), Tiger at the Gates (1955), Bus Stop (1956), Pipe Dream (1956), The Waltz of the Toreadors (1957), Touch of the Poet by Eugene O'Neill (1957), A Shot in the Dark (1962), Incident at Vichy by Arthur Miller (1965), and Where's Daddy? (1966). He was nominated for four Tony awards for Best Director.

As drama critic for The New Republic from 1948, and The Nation from 1952, he earned a reputation as a serious commentator. His special interest in Jewish theater was reflected in essays on the Yiddish stage and directing assignments for *Habimah. His books include The Fervent Years (1946), an account of the Group Theater; Lies Like Truth (1958) a collection of drama criticism; Naked Image (1966), observations on modern theater; On Directing (1972); The Divine Pastime: Theater Essays (1974); All People Are Famous: Instead of an Autobiography (1974); Ibsen (1977); and Nine Plays of the Modern Theater (1981).

In 1943 he married actress and director Stella *Adler; they divorced in 1960.

[Raphael Rothstein /

Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]

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