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Mark Dawidziak is an American author and critic.[1]

Mark Dawidziak
BornMark Daniel Dawidziak
(1956-09-07)September 7, 1956
Huntington, New York, U.S.


Early lifeEdit

Dawidziak was born in Huntington, New York,[2] on September 7, 1956. He is a graduate of Harborfields High School, class of 1974.

Journalism careerEdit

A journalism graduate of George Washington University, Dawidziak has worked as a theater, film and television critic since 1979. He started his journalism career in the Washington, D.C. bureaus of Knight-Ridder Newspapers and the Associated Press. In 1983, after stints as the arts and entertainment editor at the Bristol Herald-Courier in Bristol, Virginia and the Kingsport Times-Times in Kingsport, Tennessee, he moved to the Akron Beacon Journal in Akron, Ohio as that newspaper's TV critic (later becoming its film critic). He currently is the television critic for The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio.[3]

Television historiesEdit

Dawidziak has written two non-fiction books about TV characters: The Columbo Phile: A Casebook (The Mysterious Press, 1989),[4] a history of Peter Falk's Lt. Columbo, and The Night Stalker Companion: A 25th Anniversary Tribute (Pomegranate Press, 1997), a history of the Carl Kolchak character played by Darren McGavin in two TV movies and the 1974-75 ABC series.[5] His 2003 book, Horton Foote's The Shape of the River: The Lost Teleplay About Mark Twain (Applause Books) details the 1960 Playhouse 90 production on CBS.[6]

Mark Twain studiesEdit

In addition to Horton Foote's The Shape of the River: The Lost Teleplay About Mark Twain (Applause Books, 2003), he assembled Mark Twain's thoughts on writing and the writing process for Mark My Words: Mark Twain on Writing (St. Martin's Press, 1996).[7] He also teamed with noted Twain scholar R. Kent Rasmussen for the chapter Mark Twain on the Screen published in A Companion to Mark Twain (Blackwell Publishing, 2005, edited by Peter Messent and Louis J. Budd). He has twice been the visiting Twain scholar giving the Trouble Begins at Eightlecture at Elmira College's Center for Mark Twain Studies. He has presented academic papers at four consecutive State of Mark Twain Studies conferences (held every four years in August at Elmira College): on The Shape of the River in 2001; on the many similarities between Twain and Charles Dickens in 2005; on the importance of Hal Holbrook's one-man show, Mark Twain Tonight!, in 2009; and on director-producer Will Vinton's Claymation film The Adventures of Mark Twain in 2013.

Jim TullyEdit

Dawidziak and Paul J. Bauer are the authors of the first full-length biography of writer Jim Tully. Titled Jim Tully: American Writer, Irish Rover, Hollywood Brawler,[8] it was published by Kent State University Press in 2011 with a foreword by Ken Burns.[9]


In addition to writing two non-fiction books about the Carl Kolchak character – Night Stalking: A 20th Anniversary Kolchak Companion (Image, 1991) and The Night Stalker Companion (1997), Dawidziak has edited three collections of works by Richard Matheson, all published by Gauntlet Press: Richard Matheson's Kolchak Scripts (2003), Bloodlines: Richard Matheson's Dracula, I Am Legend, and Other Vampires Stories (2006)[10] and Richard Matheson's Censored and Unproduced I Am Legend Screenplay (2012). His work in the horror field includes a 1994 novel (Grave Secrets), a play (The Tell-Tale Play), short stories, comic book scripts and the non-fiction book The Bedside, Bathtub and Armchair Companion to Dracula (Continuum, 2008).[11]

Acting on stageEdit

Dawidziak met his wife, actress Sara Showman, through the stage. In 2002, they founded the Largely Literary Theater Company, a touring troupe dedicated to promoting literacy, literature and live theater.[12] The company's artistic director, he frequently appears in Largely Literary productions as Mark Twain and Charles Dickens. His two-act adaptation of Twain material, Twain By Three, was performed at the 103rd Annual International Dickens Fellowship Conference (held at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio). His play The Mystery of Dashiell Hammett was premiered as part of Big Read initiative at Hiram College in 2009. His other plays include a two-act adaptation of Dickens' A Christmas Carol for three actors.[13]

Series of lecturesEdit

Dawidziak currently is teaching part-time as an adjunct professor at Kent State University, in addition to writing for The Plain Dealer. He teaches the Reviewing Film and Television and Vampires in Film and Television courses.[14] His first class was in the spring of 2009.

He frequently lectures and gives talks on Mark Twain,[15] Charles Dickens, television and vampires. On October 23, 2009, Dawidziak appeared at the Kent Stage, in Kent, Ohio, with the lecture "Haunted Theaters, Dracula & Me".


  1. ^ "Mark Dawidziak". The Kent State University Press. April 13, 2011. Retrieved March 15, 2014.
  2. ^ Scoleri, John (January 2, 2012). "Mark Dawidziak - The Night Writer". It Couldn't Happen Here... Retrieved March 15, 2014.
  3. ^ "Mark Dawidziak, The Plain Dealer". Retrieved March 15, 2014.
  4. ^ Riedel, Michael (June 29, 2011). "Passing prompts talk of Falk". New York Post. Retrieved March 15, 2014.
  5. ^ Broderick, James F. (2012). Now a Terrifying Motion Picture!: Twenty-Five Classic Works of Horror. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland. p. 216. ISBN 978-0-78644-763-3.
  6. ^ Hayes, Dade (November 5, 2003). "The Shape of the River: The Lost Teleplay About Mark Twain". Variety. Retrieved March 15, 2014.
  7. ^ "REVIEW - Mark My Words: Mark Twain on Writing". June 16, 1999. Retrieved March 15, 2014.
  8. ^ "Thomas Gladysz: A Jim Tully Revival: Hobo Author Back in Print". Huffington Post. August 12, 2010. Retrieved March 15, 2014.
  9. ^ "Authors will speak on Jim Tully book". The Record-Courier. Kent, Ohio. September 7, 2013. Archived from the original on March 12, 2014. Retrieved March 15, 2014.
  10. ^ Wiater, Stanley; Bradley, Matthew R. & Stuve, Paul (2009). The Twilight Zone and Other Zones: The Dark Worlds of Richard Matheson. New York: Citadel Press. pp. 237–238, 244–245. ISBN 978-0-80653-113-7.
  11. ^ Long, Karen R. (October 24, 2008). "New book chock-full of all things Dracula". Retrieved March 15, 2014.
  12. ^ "Theater gets spirited with 'Blue and Gray'". Twinsburg Bulletin. Twinsburg, Ohio. October 17, 2013. Retrieved March 15, 2014.
  13. ^ Ritchey, David (December 21, 2006). "Simple 'Christmas Carol' commands stage". West Side Leader. Akron, Ohio. Retrieved March 15, 2014.
  14. ^ Tomkins, Megan (February 25, 2013). "News: Kent State University Professor Teaches Class on Vampires". Kent State University. Archived from the original on March 12, 2014. Retrieved March 15, 2014.
  15. ^ Gehring, Lydia (March 14, 2010). "Get to know Mark Dawidziak: Twain Scholar gives keynote address during The Big Read event Tuesday at Wayne County Public Library". The Daily Record. Wooster, Ohio. Retrieved March 15, 2014.

External linksEdit