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Awards and Honors


2014 – Dean and Margaret Lesher Foundation, East Bay Regional Park District
2013 – Role Players Ensemble
2012 – Dean and Margaret Lesher Foundation
2009 – Sunset Development Company
2008 – Museum of the San Ramon Valley
2006 – National Park Service, Contra Costa Times & Its Community Newspapers



This award is given to a person who, in the opinion of the board, has served the American Theater with distinction. The recipient may be actively involved in performance areas, including acting, directing, design or producing and may also be a critic or scholar who has written significantly about the theater in the United States. Recipients of the Tao House Award are:

2017 – Carey Perloff, long-time artistic director of the American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.), San Francisco

2008 – Paul Robeson (posthumously), actor, leading roles in The Emperor Jones and All God’s Chillun Got Wings; and Robert Brustein, critic, author, director; former Dean of the Yale School of Drama and director of American Repertory Theater
2007 – Ed Hastings, founding member of the American Conservatory Theatre, the Tony Award winning regional theatre in San Francisco.
2006 – Cherry Jones, actress, Tony Award nominee for her role in A Moon for the Misbegotten.
2006 – Stephen Black, O’Neill scholar, author of works on O’Neill.
2003 – Paul Libin, Broadway producer and collaborator with Theodore Mann.
1999 – Theodore Mann, producer of 16 plays by Eugene O’Neill.
1996 – Arthur and Barbara Gelb, biographers of O’Neill.
1994 – Donald Gallup, curator of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.
1993 – Travis Bogard, author, editor and O’Neill scholar at UC Berkeley.
1989 – Jason Robards, Jr., actor renowned for roles in O’Neill’s major plays and longtime supporter of the Eugene O’Neill Foundation, Tao House.



This award honors those who have served as directors of the foundation and whose dedication and service have enhanced the memory of Eugene O’Neill. Recipients of the Open Gate Award are:

2014 – Claudia Nemir
2012 – Florence McAuley and Robert Rezak
2009 – Beverly Lane
2008 – Carol Sherrill
2007 – Diane Schinnerer
2006 – Wendy Cooper
2004 – Virginia Denison
2003 – Linda Best
1998 – Frances Chumley
1995 – Ruth Turner
1993 – Craig Dorman
1992 – Darlene Blair and Lois Sizoo
1991 – Thalia Brewer



The Artistic Award (The Genie) is given to individuals who have been outstanding in their commitment to the Foundation’s mission to provide artistic and educational programs which focus on the contribution of Eugene O’Neill to the American theater. Recipients of the Artistic Award are:

2012 – Jack DeRieux
2009 – Dan Cawthon
2006 – Michael Uppendal
2003 – Kerri Shawn and Richard James



This award is named for Herbert Freeman. He served as chauffeur and “man of all work” and friend. He is credited with helping to make life more comfortable for the O’Neills at Tao House. This award is presented to volunteers who have tirelessly given their time and talents to the Eugene O’Neill Foundation. Recipients of the Freeman Award are:

2013 – Carol Lea Jones, Thomas Donahoe
2006 – Michael Cook
2004 – J.R.K. Kantor
2003 – Tony Cooper



The Tao House Hero Award is presented to honor an individual or organization who has made a unique and extraordinary contribution in perpetuating the legacy of Eugene O’Neill.

2014 – Congressman George Miller



In 2001 an endowment fund was established to honor the memory of Lois Sizoo, founding member of the Foundation. This fund is the repository for all memorial gifts to the foundation. This fund will support the work of new playwrights.