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Margaret Croyden

NEW YORK, Feb. 23 -- Margaret Croyden, the well known critic, commentator, and journalist whose pieces on the theater and the arts have appeared in The New York Times in the Arts & Leisure section as well as The New York Times Magazine, died Sunday, February 22 at Lillian Booth Actors' Home in Englewood, NJ, where she had resided for two weeks due to declining health. She was 92.

Croyden also wrote for The Village Voice, The American Theater Magazine, The Nation, Vogue, and Theater Week. On the Internet, she wrote about theater, music and opera in a long-running column in New York Theatre Wire, titled “Croyden’s Corner,” from 1998 to the time of her death.

Her journalism helped educate generations of theater scholars and critics about such important theater figures as Grotowski, Ionesco, Beckett, Peter Brook and others.

She was the author of "Lunatics, Lovers, and Poets: The Contemporary Experimental Theater" (McGraw-Hill), a seminal study that traces the history and development of the avant-garde theater. Her memoir, "In the Shadow of the Flame: Three Journeys" (Continuum Publishing) was widely acclaimed for its originality. Her book "Conversations with Peter Brook: 1970-2000" (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) received the front page star review in Publisher’s Weekly. "Conversations" was reprinted in Britain, France, Spain, and China.

Her fourth and last book, "The Years in Between: A Reporter’s Journey World War II-The Cold War," is a memoir triggered by the events of 9/11 and the Iraq War which brought to mind her memories of her first encounters with World War II. Drawing from diaries, tapes, and memories, she recounts her youthful adventures and struggles, and a later transformation, this time political, by her visits to faraway places as Paris, Berlin, Moscow, Leningrad (St. Petersburg), Beirut, and Jerusalem.

As host-commentator-interviewer for over ten years on CBS TV’s Camera Three, a popular arts program, Ms. Croyden interviewed and discussed the work of Peter Brook, Jerzy Grotowski, Andre Gregory, Irene Worth, George C. Scott, Dustin Hoffman, Joseph Papp, Vanessa Redgrave, and Lee Strasberg among others.

Born in Brooklyn, Ms. Croyden dreamed of a glamorous career as a Broadway star when she joined an acting unit that entertained the troops in Europe as World War II was coming to an end. She soon found herself “embedded” with American occupation troops in France and Germany after the war, an experience that would eventually launch her transformation into a widely experienced international journalist, educator, and author.

She was educated at Hunter College, New York University, Oxford University, and the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-Upon-Avon, England. She has lectured widely at numerous international gatherings in the United States and in Europe. She has been the recipient of several honors including the prestigious Asian Cultural Council grant enabling her to lecture and write on the arts in Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto.

Ms. Croyden was one of the founders of the League of Professional Theater Women, from which she received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003. Together with author Marilyn Stasio, she also helped found the Drama Desk, which held a tribute to her in its Annual Meeting on November 12, 2014. She was also a member of the American Theater Critics Association, and the PEN American Center, where she was a frequent contributor to the PEN Letter. Much of her archived work was acquired by Yale University, in the Sterling Memorial Library. Included in her archived collection are approximately 50 taped interviews with Peter Brook and other theater figures to original manuscripts.

Her biography is included in the 28th Edition of Marquis Who’s Who of American Women (2010-2011). The directory includes her academic and professional merits, as well as awards including the Asian Cultural Council (ACC) grant in 1987 and the MacDowell Artists Colony fellowship 1970.

Her own website, with comprehensive info on her writing career, is www.margaretcroyden.com. She us survived by Ron Melk, husband of her late niece, Martha Melk, of Washington Crossing, PA. She is also survived by a nephew, Robert Silber of Denber, CO, a cousin, Phyllis Dain, of Leonia NJ, and two nieces in Columbus, O, Jackie Benis and Meryl Palestrant. Margaret was preceded in death by her sisters Ruth Silber and Sylvia Rosenberg and her beloved niece, Martha Melk.

Memorial plans have not been set yet as of this writing.



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