UCI News

In memoriam: Dudley Knight, professor emeritus of drama

Dudley Knight, professor emeritus of drama in the Claire Trevor School of the Arts, died Thursday, June 27, of a heart attack. He would have been 74 on July 1.

July 2, 2013

dudley

Dudley Knight, professor emeritus of drama in the Claire Trevor School of the Arts, died Thursday, June 27, of a heart attack. He would have been 74 on July 1. Knight was a founding member of the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Conn., and enjoyed a 40-year career as a voice, speech and dialect teacher and voice director for professional theater. As an actor, he played major roles at the American Conservatory Theater, South Coast Repertory, the Mark Taper Forum and the Utah Shakespeare Festival, among other venues. He’s the author of Speaking with Skill, a detailed and comprehensive investigation of the skills needed by actors and other public speakers. Knight was known for challenging the dominant methods of speech training, which centered on elitist principles of Victorian elocution. He brought the insights of sociolinguistics and the rigor of an acoustic and articulatory phonetician to the realm of actor training. “Dudley was known for having ‘the voice of God’ and, in fact, often played God as an actor,” said his friend Annie Loui, professor of drama in the Claire Trevor School of the Arts. “He was the best voice and speech teacher I’ve ever worked with, and on top of that, he was a funny, erudite man whose extensive knowledge was shared with generosity and playfulness.” Robert Cohen, another friend and colleague of Knight and UC Irvine drama professor, said: “I’ll remember Dudley mostly for his splendid humor. He was a glorious Falstaff and an absolutely magnificent King Lear. … His other roles, and his many directing ventures, were always on an expansive palette, filled with vigor, charm and exactitude in virtuosity.” Knight is survived by his wife, renowned painter and sculptor Marta Whistler.