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Lloyd Richards

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Information about Lloyd Richards

Profile image of Lloyd Richards

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
Occupation(s):
Stage Actor
Academic Administrator
Theater Director

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue, Forest Green
Favorite Food:
Lobster, Ribs
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Home
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
6/29/1919
Birth Location:
Toronto,

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
Occupation(s):
Stage Actor
Academic Administrator
Theater Director

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue, Forest Green
Favorite Food:
Lobster, Ribs
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Home
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
6/29/1919
Birth Location:
Toronto
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Biography

Influential actor and director Lloyd Richards was born on June 29, 1919, in Toronto, Canada. His father, a Jamaican “Garveyite” master carpenter, moved the family to Detroit in search of a job at Henry Ford’s automobile plant. However, misfortune struck early when his father died unexpectedly and Richards and his older brother took odd jobs to keep the family afloat.

After high school, Richards enrolled in pre-law at Wayne State University. However, he found that his real interest was in acting and radio programming. After fighting in World War II, he returned to Detroit and remained active in local theater and broadcasting. In fact, he became part of a local theater troupe and was hired on air as a radio announcer. In the 1950s, Richards moved to New York City hoping to make his mark. He supported himself by working several jobs, doing plays and television spots, and eventually worked as an acting coach. In the late 1950s, friend Sidney Poitier asked Richards to direct a play, A Raisin in the Sun, by a then-unknown black playwright, Lorraine Hansberry. It was Broadway’s first play by a black woman and he was its director.

Always committed to teaching, in the wake of Raisin, Richards began as a drama instructor at New York University School of the Arts and Hunter College. Later, he became director of the National Playwrights’ Conference at the O’Neill Theater and the dean of the prestigious Yale School of Drama and artistic director of the Yale Repertory Theatre. It was in these capacities that Richards influenced the careers of many playwrights and actors, including Athol Fugard, August Wilson and James Earl Jones. With Wilson he developed a lasting partnership as Richards went on to direct and produce the first seven of Wilson’s plays to reach Broadway. Richards won a Tony in 1986 for his direction of Wilson’s play, Fences.

Richards was a professor emeritus at the Yale School of Drama and served on several artistic and theatrical boards, including the National Endowment for the Arts. Richards received numerous awards, including several honorary degrees, and was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame.

Richards died on his birthday on Thursday, June 29, 2006. He was 87 years old.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Lloyd Richards interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Lloyd Richards's favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Lloyd Richards remembers his parents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Lloyd Richards recounts his family's move from Toronto, Canada to Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Lloyd Richards reflects upon his West Indian heritage
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Lloyd Richards recalls the sights, smells and sounds of his childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Lloyd Richards remembers an influential aunt
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Lloyd Richards gives an overview of his schooling
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Lloyd Richards recalls his childhood activities
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Lloyd Richards recounts his budding interest in theater arts
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Lloyd Richards describes race relations in 1930s Detroit
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Lloyd Richards remembers his college prospects
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Lloyd Richards explains his family situation
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Lloyd Richards recounts his pursuits as a college student
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Lloyd Richards recalls his stint in the U.S. military
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Lloyd Richards discusses his employment as a social worker
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Lloyd Richards remembers his Detroit theater group, the Actors Company
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Lloyd Richards discusses his early radio and theater performances
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Lloyd Richards reviews his roles with the Actors Company, Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Lloyd Richards explains his decision to move to New York
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Lloyd Richards recounts lessons learned on the New York theater circuit
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Lloyd Richards discusses his pursuit of the theater arts in New York, New York
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Lloyd Richards details his early employment opportunities in New York
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Lloyd Richards reflects upon his Broadway debut
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Lloyd Richards recalls his partnership with Sidney Poitier
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Lloyd Richards remembers fellow actors, New York, New York, 1950s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Lloyd Richards remembers the team behind the Broadway production of 'A Raisin in the Sun'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Lloyd Richards recalls support for the production of 'A Raisin in the Sun'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Lloyd Richards discusses the casting of 'A Raisin in the Sun'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Lloyd Richards recounts the tour of 'A Raisin in the Sun'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Lloyd Richards explains the collaborations behind 'A Raisin in the Sun'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Lloyd Richards reflects upon reviews of 'A Raisin the Sun'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Lloyd Richards evaluates the appeal of 'A Raisin in the Sun'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Lloyd Richards remembers Lorraine Hansberry and Philip Rose
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Lloyd Richards remembers performances from his career in theater
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Lloyd Richards recalls his introduction to playwright August Wilson
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Lloyd Richards recounts his partnership with playwright August Wilson
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Lloyd Richards discusses his involvement with the National Playwrights Conference
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Lloyd Richards discusses his role with the Yale Repertory Theatre
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Lloyd Richards reflects on the course of his career
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Lloyd Richards considers his legacy