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October 10, 2006


NEW YORK, October 10, 2006 –Arthur and Barbara Gelb, award-winning writers and leading authorities on the life and work of playwright Eugene O’Neill, will deliver the Fall 2006 Samuel Rudin Distinguished Visiting Scholar Lecture at The City College of New York (CCNY).  The program, titled “Eugene O’Neill: Universal Symbol of Integrity – Why It Was Worth Spending 50 Years Decoding His Credo,” will be presented 5:30 p.m. Thursday, October 19, in The Great Hall of Shepard Hall.

The Gelbs are authors of O’Neill, the seminal best-selling biography, published in 1962.  In 2000, they published the first volume of their projected two-volume rewritten biography of Eugene O’Neill and are currently at work on the second volume.  Together with filmmaker Ric Burns, they co-wrote Eugene O’Neill: A Documentary, which debuted on PBS last March.

Arthur Gelb, who attended CCNY, spent 45 years on the editorial staff of The New York Times, rising from copy boy to managing editor.  Along the way, he served as assistant drama critic under the tutelage of Brooks Atkinson and as chief cultural correspondent and culture editor. 

His highly acclaimed memoir, City Room, is being adapted for an HBO film, written and directed by George C. Wolfe and produced by Scott Rudin.  He is also producing a documentary for public television on the life of the actor in America, pegged to the 125th anniversary of the Actors Fund of America.

Barbara Gelb has lectured and conducted seminars on Eugene O’Neill at universities in the United States and abroad.  She also wrote “My Gene,” a one-act play based on O’Neill’s third wife, Carlotta Monterey, in which Colleen Dewhurst starred in the 1987 production at the Public Theatre.

Ms. Gelb is the author of three books: So Short a Time, a biography of John Reed and Louise Bryant; On the Track of Murder, an account of two years spent with an elite team of New York Police Department homicide detectives, and Varnished Brass, a study of NYPD politics as seen through the eyes of its top officials.  In addition, she has written numerous articles for The New York Times Magazine and arts publications, including profiles of Richard Rogers, Mike Nichols, Joseph Heller, Arthur Miller, George C. Scott, Michael Bennett and Richard Burton. 

Among the numerous accolades and honors the couple has received are a gold medal presented by the National Arts Club to Mr. Gelb earlier this year and an award to Ms. Gelb from Yale University’s Beinecke Library and 10 other university libraries for her work on O’Neill.

About the Rudin Lecture Program

The Samuel Rudin Distinguished Visiting Scholars Program, named for Samuel Rudin, the civic and philanthropic leader who graduated from CCNY in 1918, was initiated in 1996.  Supported by a grant from The May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, Inc., it provides an opportunity for members of the City College community to interact with outstanding scholars, civic and business leaders, thereby enriching the educational experience on campus.  The program is also intended to foster communication in the academic community of New York City.

Previous Rudin Scholars have included: Tom Brokaw, former anchor of “NBC Nightly News;” Walter Cronkite, former anchor and managing editor of “CBS Evening News;” Abraham H. Foxman, ’44, National Director, Anti-Defamation League; Nathan Glazer, ’44, Professor Emeritus of Education and Sociology, Harvard University; Ambassador Martin S. Indyk, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution; Joel I. Klein, Chancellor, New York City Department of Education; author Walter Mosley, ’91 MA, Hon. Patricia S. Schroeder, former member, U.S. House of Representatives; Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta, New York City Fire Department; Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson; Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium, and Nobel Laureate, Dr. Harold E. Varmus, President of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

About The City College of New York

For over 159 years, The City College of New York has provided low-cost, high-quality education for New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines.  Over 13,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in the College of Liberal Arts and Science, the School of Architecture, the School of Education, the Grove School of Engineering, the Center for Worker Education and the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education.