Theatrical Index founder dies

Price Berkley created industry bible

Price Berkley, founder of Theatrical Index, died of natural causes on Sunday, Aug. 21, in Manhattan. He was in his early 90s.

Theatrical Index provides listings for current and future Broadway shows, current and future Off Broadway shows, road tours, regional productions and special attractions, with contact informations for producers, general managers, agents and others involved in productions. It was a particularly important resource for those in the business before the Internet but remains a staple for theater professionals.

Berkley was working in publicity and as a personal manager when he saw a need for such a resource. He published the first issue of the Theatrical Index in 1964, typing the first issues in his apartment.

Growing up in Philadelphia, Berkley fell in love with theater after seeing his first show, “Flying Colors,” and sought to see every show he could, including the many out-of-town tryouts that played Philadelphia before a Broadway run.

During WWII he served as a cryptographer in the Air Force stationed in Luxor and Rome. After the war, Berkley moved to New York and studied acting at the Dramatic Workshop. He worked as a hotel clerk and in advertising before taking a job with Earl Blackwell at Celebrity Service.

Berkley retired from the Index in 2007 (Steve Bebout became the publication’s editor-in-chief) but remained as a consultant until 2010.

Over his years in the theater community, Price assisted many charities and served on many committees. He was a longtime member of the Tony Awards nominating committee and was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame in 2003.

Donations may be made to the Actors Fund of America.

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