Mildred Christophe (Millie) Kuner

February 10, 1922 ~ November 6, 2021 (age 99)


Mildred (Millie) Christophe Kuner was born on 10 February, 1922 in New York City, the daughter of Benjamin Barnet and Diana Kuner. She graduated from Hunter College where she obtained a B.A. in English and Classics; in her senior year she wrote a play, a modern version of Antigone, set in Nazi-occupied Poland, which was staged in the college theatre. Later, she earned an M.F.A. degree at Yale, and a Ph.D. in English and Drama at Columbia University. Her first teaching assignment brought her to Yankton College in Yankton, South Dakota, where she taught English and Theatre History and staged one of her own plays, which later won the Maxwell Anderson Theatre Award, and was performed at Palo Alto and Redwood City. She returned to New York City to teach Playwriting and Theatre History in the English Department of her Alma Mater and also lectured at the New School and on TV-WNYC.

A winner of the Charles Sergei Award for Playwriting, Millie traveled to Los Angeles to see her next play performed at U.C.L.A, subsidized by a grant from the Huntington Hartford Foundation. The play was then chosen for production by college and community theatres around the country, finally performed off Broadway and favorably reviewed by Variety and the New York Times then-critic, Brooks Atkinson. It also received a production from the Bristol Old Vic, Young Company in England.

In 1959 Millie won a Fulbright Award to study theatre in Vienna, writing a play that was translated into German and given a staged reading during the summer in Salzburg. She resumed teaching at Hunter College, contributing articles to theatre magazines, publishing a monograph on Somerset Maugham, a book on Thornton Wilder and a play adapted from a novel, The Mistress of Mel/yn. She has lectured at the University of Vienna and at Trinity (Dublin), and after retiring from Hunter as Professor Emerita, lectured at N.Y.U. Finally moving to Kendal at Ithaca, she helped found a young company, the Icarus Theatre Ensemble, acting as dramaturge. She revisited New York City to give a lecture at the off Broadway Mint Theater during one of its productions and continued her interest in drama to the end. Millie was predeceased by her sister, Louise Michele, and leaves behind her two godsons, Richard and Owen Burdick and their families, and her devoted friends.


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