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    Posted June 22, 2006

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Dean Goodman Dies

San Francisco Theatre Critic Historian, Actor, and Director, Dies at 86

First Chair of AEA's Bay Area Advisory Committee

Dean Goodman, a noted theatre critic, historian, actor and director, died on July 4, 2006 in San Francisco two days after turning 86. Mr. Goodman was proud to have received a Lifetime Membership from Actors' Equity Association on June 28, 2006.

Members of the Bay Area Advisory Committee of AEA: (L-R) Kathryn Howell, Jerry Marks, Dean Goodman and Milt Commons. Presentation of Lifetime Membership to AEA to Dean & Milt.

Goodman joined Actors' Equity Association in 1943 and served as the first Chair of the San Francisco Bay Area Advisory Committee (BAAC) from 1978-1980, and from 1981-1984.

Born in Oregon in 1920, Goodman began to act in high school around the time Stanislavsky's first book was published in America ("An Actor Prepares" in 1936), which places him among the first generation of Americans to study and implement method acting. Goodman spent a year in the drama department at the University of Washington, and then plunged into his career, appearing with Seattle Repertory Theatre in its nascent years and elsewhere. His professional training began in earnest in 1942 with Moscow Art Theatre veteran Maria Ouspenskaya in Hollywood; he returned to her again after receiving a medical discharge from the army and studied with her for many years off and on thereafter.

Happy Birthday to Dean Goodman at his tribute on June 19th at the American Conservatory Theatre attended by close to 200 actors, critics, directors and friends.
Back Row: (L to R) Lindsey Murray, Cindy Goldfield and not identified. Front: Dean & Phoebe Moyer

In 1943 he married Marlene Dietrich's daughter, Maria Sieber; his memoir, "Maria, Marlene, and Me," describes their brief marriage (they divorced in 1946). He worked in many facets of the industry: appearing in radio dramas; touring the United States and Canada in various productions; working in Los Angeles and New York; and appearing with famous names such as Leslie Uggams, Pearl Bailey and Lucille Ball. In the late 1940s he attempted to open a racially-integrated theatre outside Washington, D.C.

In 1955, he moved to San Francisco to teach in the drama department at San Francisco State University and also acted, directed, wrote plays and paperback fiction (under a nom de plume) and produced, working with companies such as American Conservatory Theater and Herbert Blau and Jules Irving's seminal Actors' Theatre. In the mid-1970s he played a key role in the creation of the Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle, and in 1978 he was selected as the first chairman of the San Francisco Bay Area Advisory Committee (BAAC). In 1986 he wrote a history of Bay Area theatre called, "San Francisco Stages." Along the way he garnered Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle awards, wrote reviews for Drama-Logue, and in recent years, bestowed his own awards to SF Bay Area actors, the Dean Goodman Choice Awards.

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