Edward F. Kook

 

DOB: 3/5/1903 Location: New York, NY
DOD: 9/29/1990    Location:  New York, NY


Education:

  • Pace College of Accountancy, New York City (1926)

Employment History:

  • Accountant, Display Stage Lighting (1926-1929)
  • Co-founded (w/ Joe, Saul and Irving Levy), Century Lighting Company (1929-1964)
  • Editor’s note: Century was one of the foremost stage lighting and rental companies in the New York theatre for almost 40 years.  In his obituary, the New York Times noted that Mr. Kook and Century had “brightened more than 1000 Broadway plays.”  In 1937 the firm introduced the “Leko” (compounded from the names of Joe Levy and Mr. Kook) ellipsoidal reflector spotlight.  This terminology was still common practice more than 50 years later. The business was bought out and renamed Lighting Corporation of America in 1964 and Mr. Kook remained with the company as V.P. to smooth the transition until 1968.
  • U. S. Army, Office of Strategic Services (O.S.S.; Forerunner of the modern day C.I.A.) (WWII 1942-1946)
  • President of Century Lighting Company (1946-1964)
  • Founder and President, Portovox Inc., (maker of permanent and portable wireless microphones and accompanying transmittal sound equipment) (1946-1964)
  • Co-founder (w/ wife Hilda) and Chair, Arts of the Theatre Foundation (provided awards and grants to new playwriting students and educational theatrical projects) (1947-1960)
  • Lecturer in stage lighting, Columbia University and Yale School of Drama (1953-1958)
  • Board of Directors, Phoenix Theatre, NYC (1957-1963)
  • Lighting Consultant (W/ Partner Jo Mielziner) for dozens of projects throughout the U.S.

Publications:

  • Author, Images in Light for the Living Theatre, (funded by a Ford Foundation Grant) (1963)
  • Author, “History of Stage Lighting” for Encyclopedia Britannica
  • Author, “The Idea of Living Light” for The Best Plays of 1956-1957

USITT involvement and offices held:

  • Chair of the Engineering Commission
  • 2nd Vice President (1973-1975)
  • President (1975-1977)

Editor’s note: Mr. Kook is generally credited with personally guaranteeing USITT finances during a time of fiscal peril in the early 1970’s.  He also provided the original seed money for the creation of the USITT endowment that today bears his name.  

Awards and Honors:

  • Elected USITT Fellow (1977)
  • Joel E. Rubin Founders Award (1974)
  • First USITT Lifetime Membership Award (1985)
  • Antoinette Perry Award (“Tony” 1952) Special Citation for “contributing to and encouraging the development of stage lighting and electronics”
  • Kelcey Allen Award (1962) for “his contribution to the advancement of theatre lighting”
  • Ford Foundation Grant to study scenic projections (1961)