×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Richard L. Coe

Richard Livingston Coe, emeritus theater critic of the Washington Post, died Nov. 12 in Washington of lymphoma. He was 81.

Coe joined the Post in 1938 and, except for a stint in the Army during World War II, spent his career at the paper. He retired in 1979.

During those four decades, he saw Washington transformed from a legit backwater to one of the country’s key theater cities. Coe used his columns and reviews to promote improvement of Washington’s theater.

Actress Joan Fontaine once described Coe as “that great rarity, a critic who loves actors and loves directors and loves playwrights and even, by God, loves producers.”

Born in New York City, Coe joined the Post as assistant drama critic and radio editor. After the war, he was named drama critic. Coe, and Elliot Norton in Boston, were the deans of the tryout, their own power enhanced by the fact that producers, directors and authors often counted on their reviews for advice about getting their shows in shape for Broadway. Theirs was often the first word out to the public about up-and-coming talent and surefire hits.

Coe was instrumental in the creation of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and was a major supporter of the Arena Stage, Washington’s most prominent theater organizations. He was a founding member of the American Theater Critics Assn. and in 1963 was named Critic of the Year by the Directors’ Guild of America.

Coe married journalist Christine Sadler, the Washington editor of McCall’s magazine. Sadler died in 1983. They had no children.

More Scene

  • 'Schitt's Creek' Stars Reveal Dream Guest

    'Schitt's Creek' Cast Reveals Dream Guest Stars: Oprah, Beyonce and ...

    “Schitt’s Creek” has big dreams. Dan Levy, who stars as David on the series, says his wish list of guest stars includes Oprah, Beyonce, Mariah Carey and Gwyneth Paltrow. “All for different reasons, none of whom we’ll get,” he cracked at the Critics’ Choice Awards. For those who haven’t caught on to the “Schitt’s Creek” [...]

  • Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bundchen

    Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bündchen to Be Honored at UCLA Science Gala

    Science can be very glamorous. It certainly will be during Oscar week on Feb. 21 when the UCLA Institute of the Environment & Sustainability (IoES) honors Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bündchen for environmental activism at its annual Hollywood for Science Gala. “When I moved to LA, the air was unbreathable. Rivers were catching fire in [...]

  • Don Cheadle and Andrew Rannells Black

    Don Cheadle, Andrew Rannells Talk Snorting 'Coke' on 'Black Monday'

    “Black Monday” show creators David Caspe and Jordan Cahen divulged an intriguing detail to come later in the first season of the new Showtime comedy at its world premiere, held at the Theatre at Ace Hotel on Monday night in Los Angeles. “The fourth or fifth episode opens with a sexual harassment seminar, which very well [...]

  • Alfonso Cuaron attends the 44th Annual

    Alfonso Cuarón to LAFCA: 'Thanks to Your Help We Can Break Down Walls'

    Inclusion was the big winner at the L.A. Film Critics Association Awards, which was held Saturday night at the InterContinental in Century City. “This year’s winners are the most diverse in LAFCA’s 43-year history,” announced its president, Claudia Puig, adding that 14 out of their 18 awards were won by women and people of color. [...]

  • Mandatory Credit: Photo by Max Malandrino/REX/Shutterstock

    Hollywood Power Players Assemble to Save Iconic Deli Nate 'n Al

    A group of Hollywood executives and celebrities have banded together with the intent to save Beverly Hills deli and star haunt Nate ‘n Al, a stone’s throw from tourist destination Rodeo Drive. A consortium of investors including music kingpin Irving Azoff and wife Shelli, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group chairman Jeff Shell, and Rande Gerber and [...]

  • Charlie Collier, FOX Chief Executive Officer

    'The Passage' Team Talks Diversifying Races, Genders and Ages of Book Characters

    “The Passage” star Saniyya Sidney was unaware that the book version of her character was originally white until her father, a fan of Justin Cronin’s apocalyptic trilogy, informed her during the audition process. “I was like, ‘Oh, she is?'” Sidney told Variety at Thursday’s series premiere in Santa Monica, Calif. “And when I got it, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content