Beverly Robinson, folklorist, theater historian, producer, writer, director and a professor in the UCLA School, Film and Television department since 1978, died Sunday May 5 of pancreatic cancer at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center. She was 56.
An authority in the field of African-American theater and performance, she was frequently hired as a media consultant, working on such films as “The Color Purple,” “Coming to America” and “Miss Evers’ Boys.”
She created the series “Black Speakers in the Arts Forum at UCLA,” which ran 1978-81, and featured artists and scholars such as Maya Angelou, James Baldwin and John Bubbles. She was known as a dynamic speaker and was frequently invited to appear as a guest speaker, panelist and moderator.
Her folklore and photographic work have been showcased in numerous museums including a Library of Congress traveling exhibition.
Berkeley, Calif., native earned a degree in computer engineering in 1968, an M.A. in folklore in ’76 at UC Berkeley and Ph.D. in performing arts and history from the U. of Penn.
Phi Betta Kappa student later received UCLA’s Outstanding Teaching award in 1978. As a faculty member, she wrote, directed and produced several theater productions. She was a member of the Black Actors Guild and the National Task Force on Folk Arts in Education.
She is survived by her father, five sisters and several nieces and nephews.
A celebration of her life will take place at 11 a.m. on Friday at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills.