Lael J. Woodbury

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Lael J. Woodbury was a university administrator, author, actor, and director. He was born on July 3, 1927, in Logan, Utah. He served in the United States Navy during World War II in the Pacific. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Utah State University in 1952, his master’s degree from Brigham Young University, and his PhD from the University of Illinois in 1954. A few months after he earned his doctorate, he joined the faculty of BYU as an associate professor of speech until 1961. In 1965, he returned to BYU as a professor in the Theatre and Media Arts Department. He was dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communications from 1973 until 1982. He retired as professor emeritus in 1992.

Woodbury served as vice president of the University and College Theatre Association of America from 1982 to 1983, chairman for the Utah Alliance for Arts Education from 1976 to 1985, chairman of the National Committee on Royalties and Leasing from 1972 to 1981, and as president of the Rocky Mountain Theatre Conference in 1959. He also served on the Board of Directors for Eagle Systems International, the Utah Arts Festival Advisory Council, and the Repertory Dance Theatre from 1977 to 1979.

Woodbury wrote and published extensively, with over 50 works to his credit, including books, monographs, articles, and book reviews. He lectured on the arts throughout Europe and Asia.

During his career at BYU he was honored with numerous awards, including the Franklin S. Harris Award in 2009, the Fine Arts Guild Patron of the Year in 1982, the BYU Alumni Distinguished Service Award in 1975, and the Sidney B. Sperry Symposium Award in 1975. A professional production of Oedipus Rex in 1985 by the Theatre Borgia of San Francisco was dedicated to him.

He voiced the word-for-word narration of the Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, and the New Testament for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of which he was a member. He lent his voice to other productions of the Church. He directed professional summer theatre and area centennial pageants.

He was the father of four children. His first wife, Laurabelle, passed away a few years after their marriage. He was married to his wife, Margaret, for sixty-three years. Together they served a full-time mission to the New York South. He died on September 24, 2013.