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Clive Barnes

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Clive Barnes

Clive Alexander Barnes CBE (13 May 1927 – 19 November 2008) was an English writer and critic. From 1965 to 1977 he was the dance and theater critic for the New York Times, the most powerful position he had held, since its theater critics' reviews historically have had great influence on the success or failure of Broadway productions.

Born in Lambeth, London,[1] Barnes was educated at Emanuel School, and St Catherine's College, Oxford. He was the dance and drama critic at the New York Post since 1978, and senior consulting editor at Dance Magazine, where he wrote a monthly column, "Attitudes". Late in life, he also contributed regularly to the British journal "Dance Now". He also continued to edit and write for British newspapers such as The Times and the Daily Express, and the weekly Spectator magazine.

Barnes authored and contributed to numerous books related to theater and the performing arts, particularly dance. These include four volumes of 50 Best Plays of the American Theatre, nine series of Best American Plays (with John Gassner), American Ballet Theatre: A 25 Year Retrospective (with Elizabeth Kaye), the foreword to Masters of Movement: Portraits of America's Great Choreographers (by Rose Eichenbaum), Ballet in Britain Since the War, New York Times Directory of the Theater, Ballet Here and Now, Dance Scene USA, Inside American Ballet Theatre, as well as biographies of Tennessee Williams and Rudolf Nureyev.

Regarding television, Barnes said, "It is the first truly democratic culture, the first culture available to everyone and entirely governed by what the people want. The most terrifying thing is what people do want" (New York Times, December 30, 1969).

He is also widely believed to have said this about his profession: "A critic is someone who rides in after the battle and shoots the wounded."


He was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in 1975, and appointed a knight of the Order of the Dannebrog in 1972 by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark.


He was married four times. His wives included ballet writer Patricia Winckley, columnist Amy Pagnozzi, and Royal Ballet soloist and teacher Valerie Taylor.[2]


He died from liver cancer on November 19, 2008 in New York City, aged 81.[3]

Clive Barnes Awards

The Clive Barnes Foundation, which was established in 2009 to administer the Clive Barnes Awards.


  1. ^ Person Details for Clive A Barnes, "England and Wales, Birth Registration Index, 1837-2008" -
  2. ^ , November 19, 2008New York Times"Clive Barnes, Dance Critic, Dies at 81",
  3. ^ "TT: Clive Barnes, R.I.P.",, November 19, 2008

External Links

  • The Clive Barnes Foundation


  • by Mary Huhn, NY Post, November 19, 2008Longtime Post Arts Critic Dies at 81: Clive Barnes Covered Dance, Theater for Decades
  • by Mary Huhn, NY Post, November 20, 2008Death of a Legend: Curtain Falls on Post's Clive Barnes
  • , NY Post theater section, November 20, 2008As Ever, A Gentlemen
  • , NY Post editorial, November 20, 2008Clive Barnes, 1927–2008
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