HOWARD STEIN
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STEIN--Howard, age 90, died on Sunday, October 14, 2012, in Stamford, CT. Howard is survived by his beloved wife of 58 years, Marianne, sons David, Ted, and Joshua, and five grandchildren. Howard was a renowned teacher and mentor whose career included professorships at Yale and Columbia University. Contributions in Howard's honor may be made to the Howard Stein Fellowship at Columbia University's School of the Arts or to the Howard Stein Scholarship Fund at the Yale School of Drama.


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Published in New York Times on Oct. 21, 2012.
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51 entries
September 2, 2020
Halfway through a summer NEH seminar on American drama, Howard and I figured out that I had grown up two doors from his cousin Libby, and her daughters Bryan and Roberta. It was like discovering that we were cousins. I hope he enjoyed the class as much as those of us who were hungry to talk drama with fellow teachers. Howard was warm, encouraging and thoughtful. Moreover, he was delighted when anyone offered a new view he hadn’t considered. And he was kind enough to read and comment on our creative efforts as well as our essays. He made the three-subway ride from Brooklyn More than worthwhile. Howard and Bill Alfred were the two most knowledgeable and humane professors I ever met. Interesting that they were both in drama.
Daniel R. Bronson
Friend
December 1, 2018
For some unexplained reason I had an urge to Google Howard this morning and came across this page. He visited our small college, Austin Peay State University, in 1990. And while he was only with us for a semester, he made an indelible mark on my life. I had a couple of meetings with him to discuss my work in his class, as he required. I can remember every moment of those conversations. He seemed to have more understanding of the human condition in his little finger than I can hope to learn in my entire time on this planet. He pushed me forward in my life in a way that still resonates. He was an incredible person. I am so grateful to have gotten to work with him.
Cheryl Hunter-Grah
October 14, 2017
We would like to thank all those who have posted their fond remembrances here on Howard's NYT Legacy page. Reading the touching messages here is helpful to all of us, Howard's surviving family and friends. As well, a special note of thanks to Jeremy Smith for ensuring that this NYT Legacy page will remain online permanently. These past 5 years have had a distinct chill to them, we all miss my Dad so much, it is helpful to be able to warm up a little by reading the comments here.
David and Peggy Stein
November 19, 2016
it's been four years. I miss him more than ever and as constantly as ever. Not a day goes by....he was that vital a force in my life.
Ralph Arzoomanian
November 18, 2016
What a marvelous, funny, intelligent soul he was, so full of life and hope and righteous fire. Love you forever, Mr. Stein.
Claudia
April 8, 2013
I was blessed to have taken a course taught by Dr. Stein during the brief time that he was the Dean of the University of Texas Drama Department. The course was entitled "Arts Omnibus", you can imagine how interesting it was to hear Dr. Stein share his passion about all forms of art, and his passion for everyday life. There was nothing usual or mundane about the man, there was always something special to be seen, in every situation, and he could see it. I know that my college experience and my life would have been less rewarding without having had the fortune of being a student in his class. God bless him!
Jim Tucker
February 18, 2013
wonderful sentiments, all. Nothing I could possibly add even after knowing him some fifty years.
ralph arzoomanian
February 15, 2013
Thank you Howard for your kindness, caring and compassion. You will be missed greatly, and will be in my heart always dear friend.
David J. Mora Columbia 84
David Mora
January 15, 2013
I will remember Howard Stein for helping me write what I needed to write. He was a wonderful, generous man.
Jim Yoshimura
January 7, 2013
One of the great joys of moving back to New York three and a half years ago was to reconnect with Howard after many decades. The visits and phone conversations I had with him I will always treasure. Even with the infirmities and health challenges he faced, he was always engaged, supportive, caring, and insightful. I will miss him but grateful that I had Howard back in my life - if only briefly - as a mentor, a gracious host, but most of all, a dear, kind, and loving friend.
Bob Barnett
December 16, 2012
In New Orleans, hurricanes, water pump failure, flooding, etc., is an old Southern tradition. And a hurricane in 1974-5 hit on a Saturday, flooding my parents home...for a second time. The next day - a Sunday - a knock came at the door of my Hall of Graduate Studies dorm room. I opened the door, and there is Howard... in tweed. Shocked, I thought, "Was my Basho that bad?" I asked him in. He stayed at the door and said, "I just came by to tell you, your parents called and they're fine." He was human and gave a damn. He turned me onto to paradox, heavy reading and Edison Hotel blintzes. And I miss him.
Andrew Davis
December 15, 2012
at YSD graduation, May 1977
Julie Haber
December 15, 2012
I remember Howard with such fondness. His class was the first of my morning classes at Yale. After I had arrived late the second time, he gently asked me how he could help me be more punctual, if a wake-up call might help, and I replied, thinking he was joking, with "Oh yes, please." He called me every week from then on to help me get up in time! I have never forgotten that level of commitment to each student with whom he came in contact. And of course, it was SO worth getting up in time. He will be sorely missed.
Julie Haber
December 10, 2012
I was Howard's first playwriting student at the University of Iowa in 1960. He was THE Mentor of my life as writer, educator, and person. He once literally saved my education, career, and life. We were close and in touch to the end. I loved him like a father or brother. He lived in the flame of his own brilliant, humanitarian vision.
Jerry L, Crawford
December 7, 2012
Interesting to read the other entries. So many are expressing my exact thoughts. Howard obviously is fondly remembered.

My story: Howard was directly responsible for my graduating with my class and quite possibly graduating from Yale at all. An angry teacher...an angry but anxious student...tension all around. Howard diffused the situation, offered alternatives and I was off with degree in hand a few months later. Howard was always kind and encouraging to me but this sealed the deal.

Howard will be in my heart forever.
Nancy Thun
December 2, 2012
When I was about to graduate from Yale Drama, I told Howard that I had never been to Mory's, the legendary New Haven private bar. Howard promptly took me. I remember his kindness toward those of us who were lesser lights in the Yale firmament - a welcome and genuine source of encouragement.
Ralph Redpath
November 18, 2012
Stein family, Iowa City ~1964
November 13, 2012
If it weren't for Howard I would never had made it through my last year at the drama school. His quiet kindness to me kept me going through all the adversity and when he handed me my diploma his strong handshake and our shared smile meant the world to me. He was a true teacher. My admiration and gratitude are forever. Thank you for all you gave to your students, Howard.
Lizbeth Mackay
November 12, 2012
Howard tees off ~2000
November 12, 2012
Howard probably~1970
November 12, 2012
Howard and Marianne ~2007
November 8, 2012
Howard taught me, lovingly, every time we met. He was truly a rara avis; one of those great wise souls who knew the important thing about everything and could accurately quote you reference. He was vigorous in his dislikes but never unkind or threatening...and if he liked you you could do no wrong, even when he was telling you you did. Always ebullient and filled with words of encouragement, every time I heard his voice I was uplifted.
He always began with "Marianne and I" and he always ended with "Please tell Wesley that Marianne and I both..." Oh how he loved her. It showed in every gesture and in every look.
Howard Stein brightened my life and he always will. After the first time we met he sent me a note quoting the first lines of Philip Roths first book and told me they reminded him of me. I keep those lines with me every day.
Christopher Beach
November 6, 2012
Howard and blintzes at the Edison...his love and support of all the Yale Drama Family and his unquestioning embracing and inclusion of their loved ones will always keep him in my heart.
Jennifer Loew Davis
November 4, 2012
Howard was a beloved friend, mentor, and inspiration to me for over thirty years. At Yale he helped me forge my earliest values as an artist, and over the ensuing years he remained a touchstone for truth and passion in the theatre. His great intellect was matched by his enormous heart, and he always made me laugh very hard.

Notes from Howard's class on October 18, 1976:
"Always seek out poetic rather than prosaic sensibilities."
"In the theatre, we must inform penetrating issues so that they can inform us."
"In your work, show humility before the big picture."
"Great plays express our uncertain romance with the universe."

The planet will not be the same without you, Howard.
Fondly, Liz
Elizabeth Norment
November 4, 2012
What i loved most about Howard was his enthusiasm and fervor. He almost outdid the students. He was extrodinary, and a very, very special man. My love to maryann
wesley Fata
November 4, 2012
In anticipation of my first meeting (about five years ago) with Howard in his Stamford apartment, as a guest of Jeremy's. The visit strangely left me in unfamiliar territory—somewhat anxious and nervous to meet some one whose reputation preceded his own human soul.

Prior to our meeting, I not only heard so much about his love for theater, playwriting, and plain ole teaching, but I also was inspired to experience and feel the impact that he had on his many students from several years past and present. It was a comfort to see the loyalty and respect that so many of his students felt for the man. When I finally met him, I knew what all the fuss was about.

One does not meet a guy like Howard very often. Nor does one experience his gift for storytelling, knowledge of theater, and appreciation for human emotion and creativity expressing those life experiences with such artistic freedom. And, as one got to know him, one could not resist the compulsion to be drawn into his eyes, heart, and soul. Wow!

Howard I will MISS our visits and talks but I will never forget them.
Andrea Risoli
November 4, 2012
The theater took a hit with the loss of Howard. I will miss his encouraging presence. I will never forget his passion for the dramatic word.
Rebecca Nelson
November 4, 2012
Sweet Howard...hard to imagine a world of Arts without him as an uplifting presence in it. Howard used to crack me up in his class, as he bemoaned students who were missing or late to those of us who were already there! The lesson he was stressing was that you always need to show up because you will never know what you missed and whether it might have been a breakthrough moment for you. That has always stuck with me and been instrumental in my commitment and endurance, qualities so vital to a career in Acting (and now, also teaching). I feel certain his Spirit is nearby. Look Howard - I showed up :) xoxoxox
Kate McGregor-Stewart
November 3, 2012
Howard, I will always 'feel it in my hips,' because of you. See you by and by.
Charles Levin
November 3, 2012
The word buoyant comes to mind. Howard's natural enthusiasm was infectious, and his passion and generosity were utterly authentic. I also loved his giggle. Bless you Howard. You made us all smile.

Rob Orchard
Boston
November 3, 2012
Howard, you touched so many of us with your contagious passion and invigorating intellect that it is not true that you are gone. You are man in full, who lived a life in fullness and in the end none of us can ask this fathomless universe for more. I won't say rest in peace because your way was never restful and the way you kept flipping your tie indicated a mind that was always active, popping with ideas...what I will say is: whatever comes next I hope its as interesting.
Richard Bey
November 3, 2012
When I became the Artistic Director of Cape May Stage, Howard sent me the tie filled with names of the the great dramatists that I had given him when he left Yale in 1978. I wear that tie at every opening night and feel Howard's passion, courage and guidance. He was my mentor and friend. I will always love him for sharing his wisdom and humanity.
Roy Steinberg
November 3, 2012
Thanks Howard - will miss you.
Ken Ryan
November 3, 2012
On more than one occasion, I found myself saying things to my sons and my clients --- things that had a familiar ring to them. And I realized they were things I had heard from Howard. His caring wisdom still echoes in me and, I suspect, in so many of this students. I learned a lot from Howard --- and slightly more about life than the theater.
Michael Sheehan
November 3, 2012
Howard loved theater. And playwrights. He was my teacher at Yale 1971-1974. We kept in touch. In 2004 he gave me wonderful notes on a draft of my "Miss Witherspoon." More importantly he was warm and loving. He was so special to SO MANY. Howard, you are greatly missed, and greatly valued and loved.
Chris Durang
November 3, 2012
Howard loved theater. And playwrights. He was my teacher at Yale 1971-1974. We kept in touch. In 2004 he gave me wonderful notes on a draft of my "Miss Witherspoon." More importantly he was warm and loving. He was so special to SO MANY. Howard, you are greatly missed, and greatly valued and loved.
Chris Durang
November 3, 2012
Michael Feingold, NYC

Dear Howard - Thank you for your unfailing and passionate honesty, sanity, and supportiveness, during all the years at Yale and all the years since. You have gone from this earth but your truth will remain as long as I and everyone else who learned from you are here to carry it on. I can only hope that we all do so with the same devotion you showed toward us. I don't light a candle for you because yours was the light, and that light remains. Thank you again.
November 3, 2012
Howard brought me to Yale at a crucial juncture in my career and I will be forever grateful to him for his intelligence and compassion. He will be greatly missed in our profession.
Robert Benedetti
November 3, 2012
Howard Stein was one of the most generous, giving, and encouraging human beings I ever knew. He not only administered a large and difficult enterprise, he embodied the best and most humane virtues of a generous artist. Students, faculty, and I were very lucky to know this man.
Bob Brustein
November 3, 2012
Ed Gold
November 2, 2012
When things got really bad at Yale, Howard took me to lunch and basically told me to get over it. Words to live by. Thank you, Howard, for that and more.
Fran Dorn
November 2, 2012
My heart is breaking over the loss of Howard. I was grateful always for his encouragement and his wisdom, his warmth and insight and his loyalty and guidance. I had the good chance to meet his sons and to spend some time with his wife, all of whom were equally warm and loving and wonderful. My sadness over his loss is overpowered by my admiration for his great gifts.
Susan Cinoman
November 1, 2012
Howard Stein was the guiding force for just about everybody at Yale Drama School. I expect the situation was not any different at the University of Iowa or Columbia, where he also supervised major graduate playwriting programs. Whether speaking to an actor, a playwright, a designer, or a dramaturge, Howard was totally committed to the needs and aspirations of his students on every level. Through his irrepressible passion, knowledge, and lifelong love of theatre, he instilled in his students an almost unquenchable thirst for the very best in drama and the human condition. Howard will be greatly missed by all who were fortunate enough to have known him, both as a beloved friend and a treasured mentor.
Jeremy Smith
October 31, 2012
April 2012
Howard's passionate spirit will live in my heart forever and reminds me, each time I'm in front of a classroom, how much it's possible to give of yourself to others, to touch lives, and to be the teacher that makes a difference.
Gregory Fletcher
October 31, 2012
Always challenging, alway supportive... truly a mentor and a mensch.
Edward Berkeley
October 27, 2012
The word "mensch" was coined for Howard. He gave as much from his heart as from his head. He was model for all people for all times: as a human being, man, husband, father and, of course, teacher. Our world is smaller without him.
Russell Vandenbroucke
October 24, 2012
Howard in his work clothes, probably early 1970's
David Stein
October 24, 2012
I feel very fortunate for all the years I have known Howard. May his legacy live on in the hearts of all his friends
Steven Rothenberg
October 24, 2012
Howard had an exuberance for life that few people display. He expected a lot from his students and gave even more. He helped me be a better man and a better father. He will be missed.
Lars Thorson
October 23, 2012
Howard lived the very best of lives -- father, lover, protector -- of the possibility of plays and effort of playwrights. He gave me the best of gifts -- love for my vocation in life.
Oliver Mayer
October 23, 2012
I would not have had success without Howard's nuturing support. He & Colleen, my mother, were the only ones that believed, and I will be forever grateful to Howard for the attention he gave my work. Any success I achieved as a playwright, screenwriter or producer, was because of what Howard taught me.
Michael Henry Brown
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