The New York Times:

Mel Gordon, an unorthodox and widely published drama scholar who taught a course in the history of bad acting and wrote books about the ghastly Grand Guignol theater of Paris and the deviant sexual world of Weimar Berlin, died on March 22 in Richmond, Calif. He was 71.

Sheila Gordon, his former wife, said the cause was complications of renal failure. His only immediate survivor was his brother Norman.

Professor Gordon, who taught at New York University and then the University of California, Berkeley, indulged a medley of singular enthusiasms.

He wrote a two-volume history of the Stanislavsky method of acting — and the libretto to a Yiddish opera. He collaborated on a study of Funnyman, a Jewish shtick-wielding comic book superhero who was conjured up in 1948 by the creators of Superman — and wrote a biography of Hitler’s so-called Jewish clairvoyant. He wrote about commedia dell’arte — and about Madonna’s interest in kabbalah, the mystical Jewish tradition of interpreting the Bible… (continue)

San Francisco Chronicle:

Mel Gordon, a drama scholar who penned unconventional and eclectic writings on theater history, died March 22 in Richmond. He was 71.

The cause of death was complications related to renal failure, said Gordon’s former wife Sheila Gordon.

Gordon is perhaps best known for “The Grand Guignol,” about the graphic genre of theater in 20th century Paris, and “Voluptuous Panic: The Erotic World of Weimar Berlin,” on sex culture and prostitution during the Weimar Republic. He also directed more than 20 productions in Frankfurt, New York City, Paris, Zurich and San Francisco… (continue)