Oral Histories

Interview of William W. Melnitz

Immigrant from Germany and dean of the UCLA College of Fine Arts.
Scene Change, Role Change
UCLA and University of California History
UCLA Administration
UCLA Faculty
Biographical Note:
Immigrant from Germany and dean of the UCLA College of Fine Arts.
Galm, Bernard
Melnitz, William W.
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
4 hrs.
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Childhood and early education in Cologne, Germany; interest in music and theater; university and Theaterwissenschaft; theater work in Cologne, Berlin, Frankfurt, and other cities; actor, stagehand, director, producer, and writer; Bertolt Brecht; Carl Ebert; Heinrich Schnitzler; Brecht and Eric Bentley in Los Angeles; flight from Nazi Germany to Austria, Switzerland, and New York, 1939; summoned to Hollywood by Max Reinhardt, 1941; repertory theater planned with Reinhardt; plans collapse after Pearl Harbor; graduate education at UCLA; beginning of Department of Theater Arts; Kenneth Macgowan; writings on theater history; teaching in theater arts department; film school; Theatre Group at UCLA; UCLA Committee on Fine Arts Productions; acting dean, College of Fine Arts, 1960; first dean, 1961-67; Melnitz Hall named; John Houseman; arts at UCLA; performance versus scholarship; music department; relations with Chancellor Franklin D. Murphy; postretirement activities, Arensberg building, University of Pennsylvania; work in Reinhardt Archive, State University of New York, Binghamton; return to UCLA; directing Faust; further teaching; Clark Kerr; overview.