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Notable Alumni in the Arts

Balderston, John L. (1899 - 1954)
Film, Literature, Theater
Screenwriter, playwright, novelist

John L. Balderston helped to usher in Universal Studio's "golden age" of horror films in the 1930s with his work on pictures such as Frankenstein (1931, Dracula (1931), and The Mummy (1932). Balderston adapted his own stage plays and books to film, including Prisoner of Zenda (1937) and best screenplay Academy Award nominees Gaslight (1944) and Lives of a Bengal Lancer (1935). Balderston also worked on the screenplay for Gone with the Wind and wrote plays such as Berkeley Square (1926).

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Barrett, Mary Ellin (1927 - )

Barrett is an accomplished novelist who has also written a well-known biography of her reclusive father, Irving Berlin. Her first novel, Castle Ugly (1966), is a portrait of American aristocrats before the Second World War. Her other titles include An Accident of Love (1973) and American Beauty (1980). Barrett worked as a researcher with Time magazine and as a literary editor at Glamour. Learn more.

Bartók, Béla (1881 - 1945)
Composer, ethnomusicologist
40-44Researcher, Music Dept

Bartók composed dozens of musical works throughout his life, and his passion for researching and collecting Hungarian and Rumanian folk music made him one of the founders of the field of ethnomusicology. He saw a complexity in folk music that went beyond the traditional major/minor movements, tonalities, and rhythms of Western classical music. World War II forced him to leave Europe for America, where he wrote his major musicological work, Rumanian Folk Music, and worked as a research assistant at Columbia's Music Department. At Columbia, Bartók prepared three volumes of music and analysis that remain in the department's library today. Among Bartók major works are the opera Duke Bluebeard's Castle, the ballet The Wooden Prince, the choral work Cantata Profana, and Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion.

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Baruch, André (1908 - 1991)
Radio, Television

Baruch was one of the original staff announcers for the CBS Radio Network. He was behind such 1930s radio series such as The Shadow, The Kate Smith Hour and Your Hit Parade. During World War II, Baruch founded the Armed Forces Radio Network. In 1945, he and his wife, singer Bea Wain, founded a popular radio show, Mr. and Mrs. Music. Baruch was also the play-by-play announcer for Brooklyn Dodgers baseball. He was a founding member of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and in 1979, he was inducted into the National Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

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Bazell, Josh

Josh Bazell has a BA in writing from Brown University and an MD from Columbia University. He is currently a medical resident at the University of California, San Francisco, and an author.  His first novel, “Beat the Reaper,” was published in 2009.  He is working on his second novel.  

Behrman, Samuel N. (1893 - 1973)
Film, Literature, Theater
Writer, Playwright, Screenwriter

Behrman, who got his start reviewing books for The New Yorker, is remembered for melding humor and social criticism with commercial drama. He earned a grant from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1943. The next year, he won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for best foreign play for his adaptation of Jacobowsky and the Colonel. Other plays include End of Summer (1936) and But for Whom Charlie (1964). Behrman collaborated on the screenplays for My Lips Betray (1933) and The Pirate (1948). Learn more.

Berg, Gertrude (1899 - 1966)
Radio, Television, Theater
Writer, Actress, Producer

Berg was one of the first women to author a network television series. For sixteen years, Berg wrote, produced, and performed in the radio serial Meet the Goldbergs, about an upwardly mobile Jewish family. The successful show evolved into a Broadway play, Molly (1948), and a half-hour television sitcom (1949); Berg won an Emmy in 1950 for her portrayal of the matriarch Molly Goldberg. On stage, Berg performed in The Solid Gold Cadillac (1956), The Matchmaker (1957) and The Majority of One (1959), for which she won a Tony Award for best actress. Learn more.

Bergdoll, Barry
Architecture, Visual Arts

Bergdoll, who is a professor of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia, studies modern architectural history, with a particular emphasis on France and Germany between 1750 and 1900. Trained in art history rather than architecture, he has an approach most closely allied with cultural history and the history and sociology of professions. He has studied questions of the politics of cultural representation in architecture, the larger ideological content of nineteenth-century architectural theory, and the changing role of both architecture as a profession and architecture as a cultural product in nineteenth-century European society. Bergdoll's interests also include the intersections of architecture and new technologies-and eventually cultures-of representations in the modern period, especially photography and film. He has worked on several film productions about architecture, in addition to curating a number of architectural exhibitions concerned with the history and problematics of exhibiting architecture, and the history of museological practices in relationship to architecture.

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Berger, Albert
Film Producer

Berger, a feature film producer, graduated from Tufts University, attended Columbia University film school, and managed the Sandburg Theater in Chicago, a revival showcase for obscure and classic films, before moving to Los Angeles to write scripts for Paramount, TriStar, MGM, and Orion. Berger went on to serve as Vice President of Development for Marvin Worth Productions at Paramount.

In 1992, he and partner Ron Yerxa formed Bona Fide Productions. Their producing credits include “King of the Hill,” “Election,” “Cold Mountain,” “Little Miss Sunshine,” and “Little Children.”   

Berman, Shari Springer (1964 - )
Screenwriter and Director

This husband-and-wife filmmaking team's debut documentary, Off the Menu: The Last Days of Chasen's, was named one of the ten best films of 1998 by USA Today and won a number of international film awards. American Splendor, which documents the story of Cleveland file clerk, music critic, and autobiographical comic-book author, Harvey Pekar, took the Grand Jury Prize at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival and the Cannes Film Festival's Fipresci Award from the International Film Critics' Association. American Splendor was also named best picture by the National Society of Film Critics and the Los Angeles Critics Association, and was nominated for an Academy Award for best adapted screenplay. Learn more.

Bernays Kaplan, Anne (1930 - )

Kaplan's first novel, The New York Ride (1965), follows a female protagonist through college and beyond, offering an unusual perspective on what one reviewer labeled the "post-Gatsby revels" of the 1960s. Kaplan published a number of other fiction works, including The First to Know (1975), Growing Up Rich (1986) and Professor Romeo (1989). Kaplan also wrote a well-known textbook, What If?: Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers. Learn more.

Berryman, John (1914 - 1972)

The New York Times described Berryman's voice as "jaunty, jazzy, colloquial ... full of awkward turns and bent syntax." The poet was already published in The Nation (1935) when he graduated from Columbia. After meeting Yeats, T.S. Eliot, W.H. Auden, and Dylan Thomas during his studies in Cambridge, England, Berryman wrote and taught for twenty-five years at the University of Minnesota. He won the Poetry Society of America's Shelley Memorial Award in 1948 for The Dispossessed (1948) and Homage to Mistress Bradstreet (1956) was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Berryman also and an American Academy of Poets award (1950), the National Institute of Arts and Letters Award (1950), the Levinson Prize (1950), and a Guggenheim Fellowship (1952). 77 Dream Songs (1964) won the Pulitzer Prize. His Toy, His Dream, His Rest (1968), won the National Book Award (1969) and the Bollingen Prize. Learn more.

Berssenbrugge, Mei-mei (1947 - )

After publishing two books of poetry, Beijing-born Berssenbrugge earned her MFA in the Writing Division of the School of the Arts. Among her honors are a National Endowment of the Arts grant in 1976; two American Book Awards for Random Possession (1979) and The Heat Bird (1982); and the 1999 Western States Book Award for Four-Year-Old-Girl. Berssenbrugge has collaborated with artists Richard Tuttle and Kiki Smith, and has written for the Theater with Frank Chin, Blondell Cummings, Tan Dun, Shi Zhen Chen and Alvin Lucier. The NEA supported the publication of Nest in 2002. Poetics Journal describes Berssenbrugge's work as a delicate experience where "meaning arrives through sensation, the surprised juxtaposition of moment upon moment." Learn more.

Bhabha, Huma (1962 - )
Visual Arts

Huma Bhabha's abstract, visceral sculptures have been likened to something drawn from science fiction. In 2003, the New York-based artist made her solo exhibition debut in New York with three sculptures and a photograph at the ATM Gallery. Her work has been displayed in North American and European museums and galleries, including New York's Museum of Modern Art and London's Royal Academy of Arts. In 2008, Bhabha received the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum's Emerging Artist Award. Learn more.

Bigelow, Kathryn (1953 - )
Screenwriter, Director

Bigelow studied under Milos Forman at Columbia's School of the Arts. One of the few female directors to tackle action thrillers, Bigelow blends the genre's conventions with dark romanticism and serious themes. Among her films are The Loveless (1983), Near Dark (1987), Blue Steel (1990) and Point Break (1991). She has directed the TV miniseries Wild Palms and episodes of Homicide: Life on the Street. Her most recent films include Strange Days (1995) and The Weight of Water (2000). Learn more.

Biggers, Sissy (1957 - )
Personality, Media Spokesperson

Biggers began her television career supervising scripts for ABC and HBO. As Director of Late Night and Specials Programming for NBC, she worked on Saturday Night Live and Late Night with David Letterman. In 1994, she moved from production to anchoring a daily talk show, Live from Queens. In 1996, she hosted the Food Network's Ready, Set, Cook! Biggers co-hosts The Victory Garden on PBS. Learn more.

Bobbie, Walter (1945 - )
Director, Actor, Dancer, Choreographer

Walter Bobbie has worked both onstage and backstage on numerous Broadway hits. He is the former director of New York City Center's Encores! series. His directing credits include: Chicago (1996); Twentieth Century (2004), with Alec Baldwin and Anne Heche; the Rogers and Hammerstein revue A Grand Night for Singing (1993), which received a Tony Award nomination; and the musical version of Nick Hornby's novel High Fidelity (2006). Bobbie also directed the Broadway production of Footloose and co-wrote the book. As an actor, he played Roger in the original Broadway production of Grease (1971), and he starred as Nicely Nicely Johnson in the revival of Guys and Dolls (1992). Learn more.

Booke, Sorrell (1930 - 1994)
Film, Television, Theater

Booke was a television, stage and film actor best known for his role as Boss Hogg on TV's The Dukes of Hazzard. His Off-Broadway debut in The White Devil (1955) landed Booke a role on the TV show Omnibus and a Broadway debut in the 1956 production of The Sleeping Prince. His feature films include What's Up, Doc? (1972), Freaky Friday (1976), and The Other Side of Midnight (1977). Booke acted in dozens of television series, earning an Emmy nomination for his appearance on Dr. Kildare. Learn more.

Boone, Pat (1934 - )

Musician Pat Boone first topped the pop charts with "Ain't That a Shame" (1955). By age 23, Boone had cut twelve hit singles and sold over 13 million copies. Known as "the good Elvis," his G-rated lyrics and clean-cut persona made rock music palatable; a 1957 Newsweek article heralded him as "the new Bing [Crosby]." Boone has hosted his own television series and a regular radio show, appeared in over 15 movies (including 1959's Journey to the Center of the Earth), and authored two advice books for young adults. Learn more.

Boring, William A. (1859 - 1937)

Boring studied architecture while executing commissions such as the Los Angeles Times building and the Santa Monica Hotel. Boring and Edward L. Tilton submitted the winning design for the United States Immigration Station at Ellis Island, and subsequently founded a firm together. Among their commissions were apartment buildings at 520, 521 and 540 Park Avenue in Manhattan. In 1916, Boring joined the faculty of the Columbia School of Architecture, where he eventually became Director and Dean. Among Boring's honors are the Gold Medal for Architecture at the Paris Exposition of 1900, the Gold Medal at the Buffalo Exposition of 1901, and the Medal of Honor for Individual Service from the American Institute of Architects in 1927. Learn more.

Bourscheidt, Randall

Randall Bourscheidt was deputy commissioner of cultural affairs for New York City and served as chairman of the advisory commission. As president of the Alliance for the Arts for over a decade, Mr. Bourscheidt has organized a series of studies on the economic impact of arts in the New York region, published the NYC Culture Catalog and the Kids Culture Catalog, and initiated the Estate Project for Artists with AIDS. He has written and edited numerous publications, including The Economic Impact of the Arts on New York State and New York City. Mr. Bourscheidt is now working with the New York's Cultural Affairs Department and with Commissioner Schuyler Chapin, former dean of Columbia's School of the Arts, to build a large database covering every aspect of the business of nonprofit cultural organizations as well as every public program they offer. Learn more.

Brace, Donald Clifford (1881 - 1955)
Editor and Publisher

Brace spent his first fifteen years out of college with publishers Henry Holt before establishing Harcourt & Brace in 1919 with Columbia classmate Alfred Harcourt. The firm grew thanks to bestsellers by John Maynard Keynes, Sinclair Lewis and Carl Sandburg. As company president, Brace published works by E.M. Forster, Virginia Woolf and T.S. Eliot. Brace's financial expertise lead to his work on fair trade contracts during the New Deal era. In 1950, Brace was awarded the Columbia University Medal of Excellence. Learn more.

Brand, Joshua

Joshua Brand is a television writer, director and producer who, with his partner John Falsey, created St. Elsewhere, I'll Fly Away and Northern Exposure. Brand graduated from City College (NY) and won a fellowship to Columbia University where he earned a Master of Arts with honors in English. His play Babyface was produced in Los Angeles (1978) and selected as a semi-finalist in the Great American Play Contest. Early in Brandt’s career he wrote scripts for “The White Shadow,” and wrote and produced “Amazing Stories” and “A Year in the Life.” He then partnered with Falsey to develop three successful tv series. He’s been nominated for 11 Emmy Awards and won three, as well as the Humanitas Prize and the Producers Guild of America Award. Brand's directing credits include a feature film, television movies, and episodes of thirtysomething and Joan of Arcadia.


Brandt, Helene (1936 - )
Visual Arts

Brandt is known for creating sculptures that viewers can enter and experience. Her public commissions include pieces at Sacred Heart University, the Staten Island Children's Museum, Long Island University, the Brooklyn Bridge Centennial and the Ward's Island Sculpture Garden. Brandt received an NEA Artist in Residence Grant and a 1985 Guggenheim Fellowship. She recently collaborated with Vito Acconci on the mosaic mural at the Yankee Stadium Subway Station, for which she was awarded a New York City Masterwork Award. Brandt has taught and mentored at Bennington College, the School of Visual Arts, Pratt Institute and New York University. Learn more.

Brashares, Ann (1967 - )
Fiction writer and editor

Brashares's debut novel, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2001) traces the adventures of four best friends who share one pair of jeans during their first summer apart. Sisterhood became a New York Times bestseller, won the Book Sense Book of the Year Award in 2002 and was adapted to film in 2005. Brashare added three more books to the series, The Second Summer of the Sisterhood (2003), Girls in Pants: The Third Summer of the Sisterhood (2005), Forever in Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood (2008), and she is planning novels for adults. Learn more.

Broones, Martin (1892 - 1971)

Broones' music supported some of the first motion picture soundtracks. He composed the scores of So This is College (1929), and The Mysterious Island (1929), and contributed songs to numerous other movies. Popular songs include "I Can't Get Over a Girl Like You," "Bring Back Those Minstrel Days," and "One Last Love Song." Broones was the head of MGM's Music Department. He married actress Charlotte Greenwood and served as her manager and chief press agent. Learn more.

Brown, David
Film Producer

Brown graduated from Stanford University (1936),  Columbia University's School of Journalism (1937) and soon became drama critic and editor for Women's Wear Daily.

With writing partner Ernest Lehman, Brown wrote magazine articles and radio comedy material for Eddie Cantor.  He was nonfiction editor for Liberty magazine, quickly moving up to editor-in-chief.  He was also managing editor of Cosmopolitan, executive vice president of New American Library’s book division, and married Helen Gurley (Brown), famed Cosmopolitan editor.

Brown’s career in Hollywood is legendary.  A Twentieth Century Fox executive, he partnered with Richard Zanuck  (early 1970s) to produce blockbuster "Jaws," followed by "The Verdict" and "Cocoon.”  Other credits include "The Sugarland Express" (Steven Spielberg's first theatrical feature). Zanuck and Brown were executive producers of "The Sting," (1973) which won an Oscar.

Before launching a solo career as producer, he acquired film rights to Oscar-winning "Driving Miss Daisy" (1989).

Brown’s film credits include "The Player," "A Few Good Men," and "Chocolat." Brown and Zanuck received the 1991 Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and a Selznick Lifetime Achievement Award from Producers Guild of America.  

Brown, Rosellen (1939 - )

Brown's fiction, essays and poetry have won her the American Academy of Arts and Letters' Award in Literature, two grants from the NEA, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Ingram Merrill Foundation. Brown has published a collection of short stories, three volumes of poetry, and five novels: The Autobiography of My Mother (1976), Tender Mercies (1978), Civil Wars (1984), and Before and After (1992), and Half a Heart. She is on the faculty of the Graduate Creative Writing Program at the School of Art Institute of Chicago. Learn more.

Buchman, Sidney (1902 - 1975)
Film, Theater
Playwright and Screenwriter

Buchman wrote Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941), which won the Academy Award for best screenplay, and Academy Award nominees Talk of the Town (1942) and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939). In 1949, Jolson Sings Again was nominated for both the Academy Award and Writers Guild award for best screenplay. Buchman's screenplay for Saturday's Hero (1951) was also nominated for an award by the Writers Guild. Buchman produced little work after being investigated by the House Committee on Un-American Activities. He was the President of the Screen Writers Guild (1941-1942), and received the organization's Laurel Award in 1965. Learn more.

Burns, Ric (1955 - )
Director, Writer and Producer
'78CC, '83GSAS PhD

Ric Burns is a writer, director, and producer of many acclaimed documentary films. His filmography includes Andy Warhol: A Documentary Film, American Experience: New York, and he is currently writing and directing We Shall Remain:Tecumseh, a television series scheduled to debut in 2009. He has been awarded three primetime Emmys for his work, and has received various other awards for his esteemed documentaries. Ric is the brother of director Ken Burns. Learn more.

Burroway, Janet (1936 - )
Literature, Theater
Playwright and Novelist

Burroway's play, Garden Party, was produced at Barnard the same year that she graduated. Although she is best known for her novels, Burroway's plays include The Beauty Operators, Medea with Child and Sweepstakes. She won the Academy of Arts and Letters Playwrighting Prize in 2001 and a Pushcart Prize in 2002. Her novels include The Buzzards, which garnered a Pulitzer Prize nomination in 1970, and Raw Silk, the runner-up for the National Book Award in 1977. Burroway received a creative writing scholarship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Florida Fine Arts creative writing grant and a number of awards for excellence in teaching. She is professor emerita of English literature and writing at Florida State University. Learn more.

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