Volume 73, Number 30 | November 26 - December 2, 2003


Patricia Broderick, 78, artist, writer, mother of actor Matthew Broderick

Patricia Broderick, painter, playwright, teacher and Village resident for many years, died of cancer at her home on Nov. 18 at the age of 78.
Among the film scripts that she worked on were “Glory” and “Infinity,” both of which starred her son, the actor Matthew Broderick. Her last art show, curated by her partner, John Wesley, was a year ago at Art Resources, a West Chelsea Gallery.
In an interview last year with Jerry Tallmer, theater and arts columnist for The Villager, Patricia Broderick spoke about her life as a painter and woman of the theater.
She was born on the Upper East Side to Milton and Sophie Taub Biow. At the age of 15, while she was attending the Dalton School, her mother died. Patricia was the protégée of the Mexican artist Refine Tomato who was teaching at Dalton, and spent a few years with his family in Mexico before returning to New York.
An early brief marriage ended in 1946 and while in Reno, Nev., getting a divorce, Patricia met Sanford Meisner, founder of Neighborhood Playhouse and distinguished acting teacher, who was also getting a divorce. Meisner persuaded her to study acting, so Patricia became a student at Neighborhood Playhouse where she met James Broderick, a fellow acting student.
They married and moved to the Village where they raised their three children. Her husband died of cancer in 1982.
On the suggestion of an actor friend, Patricia began writing plays in the 1950s while teaching at HB Studio in the Village. She told Tallmer last year that she couldn’t recall the name of the second play she wrote, but remembered that it played at the Theater de Lys, now the Lucille Lortell Theater, on Christopher St. The play was directed by Mildred Dunnock and featured the late James Patterson.
Another play, “The Admiration of Life,” was done in London “and won some prizes and got some nifty reviews and some very nasty reviews,” she told Tallmer last year. She also wrote for television specials produced by Fred Coe.
The failure of one of her plays at Lincoln Center prompted her to quit theater and go back to her first art, painting. “I thought the Lincoln Center thing was a tragedy, but it wasn’t. It got me back to painting again,” she said in the Tallmer interview.
In addition to her longtime companion, John Wesley, and her son, Matthew, two daughters, Rev. Janet Broderick Kraft, an Episcopal priest, and Martha Broderick, a psychotherapist, survive. A brother, Richard Biow, and five grandchildren also survive.
Greenwich Village Funeral Home, 199 Bleecker St., was in charge of arrangements.


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