(Neil Genzlinger’s article appeared in The New York Times, 8/21.)

Vivian Matalon, who after directing Noël Coward in London in his final stage appearance became a regular on Broadway, where his biggest success was a Tony Award-winning revival of “Morning’s at Seven” in 1980, died on Aug. 15 at his home in Glenford, N.Y. He was 88.

His spouse, the playwright and actor Stephen Temperley, said the cause was complications of diabetes.

Mr. Matalon’s directing career was defined by versatility. He was as comfortable with dramas like William Inge’s “Bus Stop,” which he directed in 1970 in London with a cast that included Keir Dullea and Lee Remick, as he was with a musical like “The Tap Dance Kid,” whose 1983 Broadway production earned him a nomination for best direction of a musical.

Though he worked with many stars over the years, he had special memories of directing Coward late in his career, by which time Coward was a legend as both a writer and a performer. The production, staged at the Queen’s Theater in London in 1966, was “Suite in Three Keys,” a trilogy of Coward plays set in the same hotel room. Coward starred in all three.

“I can state categorically that he was the easiest, least defensive writer I ever worked with,” Mr. Matalon wrote in The New York Times in a reminiscence in 1974, a year after Coward’s death. “He was jealous of nothing in his writing.”

But then there was Coward the actor.

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Photo: WRAL TV

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