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CRIMES OF THE HEART Broadway Director Melvin Bernhardt Dies at 84


Melvin Bernhardt, director of two Pulitzer Prize-winning plays and Tony winner for DA, died on Saturday, September 12, 2015. He was 84.

Among his works as a Broadway director were John Guare's COP-OUT, starring Ron Leibman and Linda Lavin in 1969, Paul Zindel's AND MISS REARDON DRINKS A LITTLE with Julie Harris and Estelle Parsons in 1971, and 1980's HIDE AND SEEK featuring Elizabeth Ashley, as well as DANCING IN THE END ZONE in 1985.

Off-Broadway and around the U.S., he helmed stars such as Swoosie Kurtz, Sam Waterston, Olympia Dukakis, Paul Giamatti and more.

Bernhardt's Off-Broadway credits include Zindel's Pulitzer-winning THE EFFECT OF GAMMA RAYS ON MAN-IN-THE-MOON MARIGOLDS in 1970, and Beth Henley's CRIMES OF THE HEART at Manhattan Theatre Club in 1980. 'CRIMES' moved to Broadway in 1981 after winning a Pulitzer that spring.

He staged DA in 1978 -- the production won four Tony Awards for Best Play, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Featured Actor.

Bernhardt, whose family had hoped he would become a lawyer, went his own way during college. He kicked off his theatre career as a stage manager for CONERICO WAS HERE TO STAY at the Cherry Lane Theater.

The director, who also worked in television on soaps such as ANOTHER WORLD and ONE LIFE TO LIVE and a TV adaptation Thomas Hegel's novel MISTER ROBERTS, is survived by his husband, Jeff Woodman, and his brother, Richard Bernhardt.

Pictured: Melvin Bernhardt with COP-OUT star Linda Lavin at Birdland in 2007. Photo by Mark Rupp.

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