SHIRLEY RICH (1922-2009)


PAPERS, 1929-2010

(bulk 1940-1947)

12.5 linear inches





The papers (donor no. 109) were received from Shirley Rich Krohn in 1992 and in succeeding years.


The papers are open for research.


Five audiocassettes shelved in audiocassette collection (AC193-AC196, AC1348, AC1358-1361).


Copyright has been transferred to the University of Iowa.


In box 1.


Catherine E. Rymph, 1992, Robert J. Jett, 1994, Rosemary Reiss, 2010.



            Shirley Rich, casting director in theater, television and film, was born in Chicago on December 10, 1922.  Her parents,  Meyer and Hattie Rich, were immigrants from Eastern Europe.  Rich grew up in Ottumwa, Iowa and graduated from the State University of Iowa (now the University of Iowa) in 1944 with a bachelor of fine arts degree.  In 1946 she received a masters degree in theater from Smith College, where she studied under Hallie Flanagan Davis.


            Rich then moved to New York City.  In 1946 she worked for the American National Theater and Academy (ANTA) having received a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship the first year.  During her second year with ANTA Rich worked for their experimental theater which included such productions as Galileo with Charles Laughton and Skipper Next To God with John Garfield.  From 1948 to 1951, she worked for Rodgers and Hammerstein as assistant casting director, taking time out in 1950 to do public relations and press work for the Ballet Theater during its State Department tour of Europe.  While with Rodgers and Hammerstein, Rich worked on South Pacific and The King and I, among other productions. From 1951 to 1954, she worked as the eastern talent scout for the Talent Department of Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures.


            In 1952, Rich married Lewis M. Krohn, an investment banker.  They had two children, Steven and Lisa.  Rich spent the next several years raising her children in Scarsdale, New York.


            In 1963, Rich resumed her career, working as casting director for Hal Prince. During the following six years, Rich cast such productions as Fiddler On The Roof, Cabaret, and Zorba.  In 1969, she founded Shirley Rich Casting and began work as a free-lance casting director.  In this capacity, she worked on films such as Taps, Kramer vs. Kramer, Serpico, Three Days of The Condor, Rachel, Rachel and Saturday Night Fever, and television programs including the American Playhouse production of Andre's Mother and the soap opera Ryan's Hope, winner of many Emmy Awards.  Her theater productions include Ballroom and Crimes of the Heart.


            Rich has received numerous awards including: in 1983 the Smith College Medal, awarded to distinguished alumnae who best exemplify the true purpose of a liberal arts education; in 1991 the Hoyt Bower Award from the Casting Society of America for Outstanding Contribution to the Casting Profession; and in 1994 the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Iowa.  In addition, as part of the Sesquicentennial of Ottumwa, Iowa, the Ottumwa Arts Council honored her as one of four creative artists from Ottumwa in March 1994.


Scope and Content Note


            The Shirley Rich papers date from 1929 to 1996 and measure 5 linear inches.  The papers are arranged in six series: Biographical material, Audiocassettes, Childhood and education, Photographs, Smith College, and Professional files.  The bulk of the material relates to Rich's career in theater.  In many cases, Rich has identified (with handwritten notes) the date and/or context of the item.


            The first series, Biographical material (1950-2010) includes lists of Rich's casting accomplishments, her entry from Who's Who in Entertainment, newspaper clippings, a copy of the University of Iowa's Dividends magazine, in which Rich was featured for her gifts to the university, and a photocopy of the speech she delivered upon receiving the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Iowa in 1994.


            The Childhood and education series (1940-1944) consists of photographs, newspaper clippings, and letters from former teachers which relate to Rich's activities, performances, and achievements. 


            Smith College (1944-2007) consists of correspondence and newspaper clippings from Rich's days at Smith as well as those relating to her ongoing relationship with Smith.  This series also contains a scrapbook which documents her performances and other theater-related activities at Smith. 


            The Professional files series (1940-2008) includes newspaper clippings (spanning four decades) concerning reviews or descriptions of performances with which Rich was involved, as well as interviews with Rich.  Articles from Iowa newspapers describe her Iowa roots.  Correspondence (sparsely covering four decades) includes a letter from Rod Steiger (September 3, 1965), and a few notes from Richard Rodgers (1950). Also included in this series is a radio script from 1947 when Rich, along with an unemployed actor, was interviewed on the Margaret Arlen show.


            Photographs feature Rich as well as Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein, Hallie Flanagan Davis, Jackie Cooper and Rod Steiger.


            Audiocassettes series consists of three sessions with Shirley Rich Krohn: the first is a lecture recorded in 1978 at the University of Iowa Theatre Department for students interested in pursuing a career in theatre, the second is an interview recorded in 1992 by Peter Ullian at the University of Iowa Theatre in which Shirley Rich Krohn discusses her thoughts on the University of Iowa Theatre Department.  The third is an interview with Shirley Rich recorded in 1995.



Related Collections


            Profile of casting director: Shirley Rich Krohn.  WSUI Public Radio, Iowa City, March 13, 1992.  Julie Englander, Producer [shelved with audiocassette collection: AC121].


Box no.   Description

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Box 1

Biographical material


Audiocassettes [shelved in audiocassette collection]

Lecture by Shirley Rich given to the University of Iowa Theatre Department, 1978 (AC193-AC194)

Interview of Shirley Rich Krohn by Peter Ullian at the University of Iowa Theatre Department, February 2, 1992 (AC195-AC196)

Interview with Shirley Rich, JBI lecture series, spring 1995 (AC1348)

Childhood and education

Correspondence, 1940, 1944

Diplomas, 1940, 1944

Newspaper clippings, 1929?-1944 and undated

Ottumwa High School yearbook, 1940




Smith College

Correspondence, 1946-1983

Scrapbook, 1944-1945


Professional files

Correspondence, 1947-1993


National Association of Talent Representatives Award, 1987

Newspaper clippings, 1943-1994

Playbills, 1950-1987

Radio script, 1947