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Biography

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Overview (3)

Date of Birth 2 December 1917Spartanburg, South Carolina, USA
Date of Death 30 December 1984New York City, New York, USA
Birth NameHoward Dixon Richardson

Mini Bio (1)

Born 2 December 1917, Howard Dixon Richardson graduated from the University of North Carolina with a B.A in 1938. After traveling through Europe in 1938-39, he returned to the University of North Carolina for his M.A. (1940). While a University of Iowa graduate student (1940-42), he wrote the play "Barbara Allen" (published in 1942), aka "Night Song." The work was inspired by the Scottish-English folk song, "The Ballad of Barbara Allen," which has been traced back to 1665 and was brought to America by the earliest settlers. Richardson's fantasy drama, set in North Carolina's Smoky Mountains, was expanded into his most famous work, "Dark of the Moon" (1944), a collaboration with William Berney, about witchboy John who yearns to become human because of his love for Barbara Allen. Richardson's graduate studies were interrupted when he signed on with the Army in 1943. After Richardson made an unsuccessful attempt to bring "Dark of the Moon" to Broadway, a Life magazine article (11 September 1944) about the Boston production caught the attention of Broadway producers. After the play opened on Broadway 14 March 1945 with a cast of Richard Hart and Carol Stone, it ran for 318 performances. The two repeated their roles for The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse (1948) on 3 July 1949. On January 6, 1952, "Dark of the Moon," with a cast of Alfred Drake, Rita Gam and Eric Fleming, was telecast on Albert McCleery's Cameo Theatre (1950). Over six decades, the play has been staged continually by high school, college and community theater groups. A screenplay of "Dark of the Moon" was written in collaboration with Frances Goforth. Other Richardson/Berney collaborations include "Design for a Stained Glass Window" (1950) and "Protective Custody" (1956). For the teleplay "Ark of Safety," Richardson and Goforth adapted C. Hodge Mathes' 1952 collection of Smoky Mountain stories, "Tall Tales from Old Smoky"). With Beulah Bondi delivering a powerful performance, "Ark of Safety" aired 9 September 1956 on Goodyear Playhouse (1951). Goforth and Richardson also collaborated on "Catch on the Wing" (1947) and "Evening Star" (about elderly actors and actresses living on a Mississippi riverboat). Richardson wrote or co-authored more than 40 plays, including "Sodom, Tennessee" (1950) and "A Thread of Scarlet" (1976), a biographical drama about the abusive attacks in 1872 to destroy Victoria Woodhull, the first female Presidential candidate. After completing his doctorate (1960) at the University of Iowa, Richardson returned to New York City where he lived during the 1960s at 207 Columbus Avenue. He taught playwriting at the University of Oregon, the College of the Virgin Islands in St. Thomas and the University of California at Northridge. He died 30 December 1984, in New York City. His papers are available for research in the University of Iowa's Special Collections.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Bhob Stewart <bhob2@earthlink.net>

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