Marvin Rosenberg, 90; Authority on Shakespeare’s Plays

From Staff and Wire Reports

Marvin Rosenberg, 90, professor emeritus at UC Berkeley, whose books on the stage history of Shakespeare’s plays have been widely used by scholars, died Feb. 10 at his home in El Cerrito, Calif., of complications from a stroke.

Rosenberg’s contributions to Shakespearean scholarship included the “The Masks of Othello,” “The Masks of King Lear,” “The Masks of Macbeth,” and “The Masks of Hamlet.”

Rosenberg was working on the fifth book in the series, “The Masks of Anthony and Cleopatra” when he had a stroke in August 2002. The book will be published posthumously.

“His books are deservedly familiar to every scholar of Shakespearean acting in the world,” said William Worthen, chairman of the UC Berkeley’s department of theater, dance and performance studies.


Born in Fresno to Russian immigrants, Rosenberg earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate at UC Berkeley. He served in the Office of War Information during World War II and in the State Department’s Thailand section after the war before returning to Berkeley to complete his doctoral work.

He joined the Berkeley faculty in 1949 to teach journalism. He switched to theater arts, and became a full professor in 1961 and a professor emeritus in 1983.


Melvin J. Erickson, a former member and president of the Los Angeles Airport Commission in the 1960s and ‘70s, died Jan. 18 in Indian Wells, Calif. He was 87.