Respondent
Rauh, Richard E.
Interview Date
1994; 1998
Abstract
Respondent actor, theater philanthropist; born 1940.
[T1S1] Respondent provides family background: paternal grandfather, Enoch Rauh, father, Richard Solomon Rauh: associated with Bankers Lithograph. Respondent notes no siblings; mother, Helen Wayne Rauh: actress, graduated Carnegie Institute of Technology (now CMU), married, 1935. Respondent discusses Pittsburgh Playhouse: formed by father and other civic leaders; mother acted at Pittsburgh Playhouse: 1934-1972, names several shows mother appeared in; reflects on father's death: 1954 at age 60, depicts father's love of theater. Respondent describes grandmother, Bertha Florsheim Rauh; notable visitors who came to her home; her death in 1952 at age 87 and grandfather's death in 1919, notes grandfather served on city council: 9 years, among first to suggest subway for Pittsburgh. Respondent discusses family religious life; attended Shadyside Academy, graduation, 1958, attended University of Pittsburgh, B.A. and M.A. degrees, Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude. Respondent comments on starting radio station at University of Pittsburgh, attended graduate school, did not complete dissertation on Mark Twain; discusses job as film director at Pittsburgh Playhouse, teaching position at Robert Morris Business College (English composition); lists other job opportunities, notes Pittsburgh Playhouse out of business: 1973, declared bankrupt: 1974. Respondent continues detailing acting career: began in 1966; lists various plays he acted in, mentions membership in several organizations; recalls popularity of Pittsburgh Playhouse in 1940s; father's involvement with theater; dispels misconception that father built Playhouse for Respondent's mother.
[T1S2] Respondent provides names of directors of Playhouse in early years, mother's career, lists other activities mother did including writing, beauty tips for newspapers, radio, television; mother's retirement in 1972, her illness and death: 1993. Respondent provides additional background information: great grandfather: Solomon Rauh, moved from southern Bavaria, Germany to United States, his marriage to Rosalie Lippman; notes Enoch Rauh, born 1857; elaborates on grandmother, Bertha Florsheim Rauh, her family history and involvement with welfare movements: director of Welfare Board of Pittsburgh: 1920s; her illness and death. Respondent mentions maternal grandparents: Leona and Edward Sissenwain, their deaths; has little knowledge of maternal grandparents. Respondent reflects on early childhood, family home in Squirrel Hill, attachment to housekeeper, summer vacations in Beach Haven, NJ; father's heart attack and death.
[T2S3] Respondent refers to collection of photos and newspaper articles pertaining to family, describes photos; mentions dissertation written by Diane DiNardo about Bertha Florsheim, using sources of Rauh papers; details her involvement in Pittsburgh life; donated to Hillman Library, 1966. Respondent gives additional information on father: spoke out against decision in Leo Frank case, describes founding Enoch Rauh club: involved with Jewish orphans, fielded basketball team; discusses father's involvement with Pittsburgh Symphony; grandfather authored Rauh Act: workers compensation bill, passed by city council: 1913; continues talking about grandmother: kept scrapbook detailing her life : 1884-1905; contains information about family members.
[T2S4] (tape periodically malfunctions) Respondent reflects on relationship with great uncle: Bert Florsheim: inventor, songwriter, eccentric but great influence on family. Respondent discusses future, career plans; his unwritten dissertation; acting in "Little Shop of Horrors"; on board of directors of Gargaro Productions; mentions movies and television commercials he has appeared in: living on his own.
[T3S5] Respondent makes corrections and additions to previous tapes; mentions Elizabeth Plout, distant relative: wrote book of family genealogy: <i>THE GUGGENHEIM-WORMSER FAMILY</i>, copy at Hillman Library, Curtis Collection and Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center: traces families to 1600's. Respondent notes great-grandmother, Rosalie Lippman Rauh presented a gift of $50,000.00 to United Jewish Federation: 1914, for endowment fund; provides background information on Rosalie Lippman Rauh; discusses forthcoming teaching position at Point Park College. Respondent explains money bequeathed to O'Reilly Theater, formerly Pittsburgh Public Theater, in memory of mother, Helen Wayne Rauh; asked by Pittsburgh Cultural Trust to revive film series; discusses additional commercials pending and voice overs; notes highlight of his career: "Of Thee I Sing.", describes performance. Respondent discusses desire to go to New York for acting roles and getting an agent.
[T3S6] Respondent comments on difficulty in making films in Pittsburgh; repeats information from previous tapes: closeness to housekeeper, radio station at the University of Pittsburgh and work he did for it; reflects on mother's acting, notes her greatest asset: her timing. Respondent comments on writing drama reviews for Pittsburgh<i> Post Gazette</i>; mentions some of his favorite playwrights.
[T4S7] Respondent repeats information from previous tapes: paternal great grandparents; notes family philanthropic; Respondent gives mostly to theaters; mentions papers given to Curtis Collection, Hillman Library; adds lengthy information on great uncle: Berthold Florsheim (Bert); discusses writings about entire family; donation of all Pittsburgh Playhouse papers (1934-1978) including minutes to Frank Curtis Collection, Hillman Library. Respondent comments on film course taught at Chatham College; provides more family stories; additional information of founding of Pittsburgh Playhouse: plans for building in different area abandoned, purchase of additional buildings on Craft Ave., excellence and popularity of restaurant.
[T4S8] Respondent describes decline of community theater, explains actors equity; mentions other theaters in Pittsburgh; notes running film series for 15 years, discusses how films are booked: choice of films based on what public wants to see. Respondent describes mothers friendship with Don Brockett, industrial shows she did for him in New York; Brockett's success with "Forbidden Pittsburgh".
[T5S9] Respondent discusses parents relationship with Judith Anderson; acquaintance with Gloria Abdou: involved with television in Pittsburgh: interviews she did. Respondent provides names of mother's siblings and extended families; her early childhood; gives names of classmates; describes travels to Beach Haven, NJ: poor roads and length of drive, routes taken; describes summer at Camp Deer Creek.
[T5S10] Respondent reflects on Shadyside Academy: notes 5 Jewish students at graduation; believes there were quotas; describes teachers and classes; plays in which he performed. Respondent reads letters sent to grandmother, Bertha Florsheim Rauh, from George Gershwin and others; discusses grandfather's involvement with Carnegie Free Library, North Side: reads letter from Andrew Carnegie; mentions chapter he is writing for book: <i>THE GOLDEN AGE OF PITTSBURGH THEATER; A MALLOY COMPILATION</i> by Ruth Malloy: "Pittsburgh Playhouse: A Failed Dream (1934-1974).
[T6S11] Respondent explains decision to give family artifacts and papers to Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center; Hillman Library will have all Pittsburgh Playhouse material; provides additional information on chapter in Malloy book. Respondent describes role as theater critic: must be able to communicate with viewers; notes Pittsburgh not big theater town, mentions reviews he wrote; discusses New York theater productions. Respondent states mother was very critical, therefore, Respondent is objective critic.
[T6S12] Respondent describes preparation of personal archival Materials; reads documents, letters and newspaper clippings; details all photographs.
[T7S13] Continuation from previous side.
[T7S14] Continuation from previous tape.
[T8S15] Respondent continues describing photographs from previous tape.
[T8S16] Respondent discusses "unfinished business": would like to try auditioning and performing in New York, would like to write a play, will begin teaching at Point Park college, fall 1998; continues to discuss New York and several Broadway plays; discusses future of arts and negative effect of television.
[T9S17] Self-recorded by Respondent from early audio tape: Gloria Abdou interviews done backstage at Nixon Theater on "The Medium": a screen production.
[T9S18] Continuation of self-recorded tape: 74<sup>th</sup> Birthday celebration of Bertha Florsheim Rauh and tributes paid to her by family.
[T10S19] Respondent reads chapter he wrote "The Pittsburgh Playhouse, A Failed Dream, 1934-1974" by Richard E. Rauh for book: <i>THE GOLDEN AGE OF PITTSBURGH THEATER- A MALLOY COMPILATION</i>.
[T10S20] Continuation from previous side.
Subjects
Bankers Lithograph Co.; Enoch Rauh Club; Heinz, John, 1938-1991; Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center (Pittsburgh, Pa.); Rauh, Bertha Floersheim, 1865-1952; Rauh, Helen Wayne; Rauh, Richard Solomon; Theater; O'Reilly Theater (Pittsburgh, Pa.); Pittsburgh Playhouse; Pittsburgh Public Theater; University of Pittsburgh. University LIbraries. Hillman Library
Birth Date
1940
City
Pittsburgh, PA
Profession
Actor
Residence
Shadyside
Occupation (father)
Businessman; Founder, Pittsurgh Playhouse
Length (hours)
10
Interviewer1
Belov, Leonard
Interviewer2
Fleishman
Interviewer3
Dinman, Gabrielle
Interviewer4
Harrison, Mary
Indexer
Berger, Betty
Collateral Materials
Box 105 FF 15
Identifier
ais196440.360
Rights
All rights reserved. University of Pittsburgh