Max C. Golightly

Educator, Playwright, Director,
Actor & Poet

Max C. Golightly, Faculty, B. Y. High School
Max C. Golightly

Brigham Young High School
Faculty 1957~1961

Max Chatterton Golightly was born May 19, 1924 in Preston, Idaho, to Joseph William and Mable Chatterton Golightly.

He lived in Rexburg, Idaho during his high school years. He graduated from Madison High School in 1942, where he had been active in dramatics and won a scholarship in vocal music.

As part of the United States Special Corps during the Second World War, he became a member of The Chapeliers, a singing, entertainment company, which toured the European Theatre of Operations in USO and Red Cross centers all over Europe.

In December of 1945, this group provided the choral members for the funeral of General George S. Patton in Heidelberg, Germany, at the request of the widow of the General.

General Patton had survived two great wars, but he suffered a broken neck in an auto accident in Germany in early December. He fought back from the edge of death, but 12 days after the accident, a lung clot brought death suddenly and peacefully.

Max Golightly returned to Provo, Utah, where he enrolled at BYU, majoring in radio broadcasting.

In 1948 he had written a varsity show, "Significant Spring" and as the director was auditioning talented students for the show. A young lady named Beverly Keith, an art student, auditioned as a tap dancer for the show. Max selected Beverly for that part, and their acquaintance soon blossomed into romance.

Max and Beverly Golightly, Newlyweds

Max and Beverly were married that fall, on September 17, 1948 in Manti, Utah.

Beverly's parents were William Jairus Keith, Jr. and LaVon Penrod Keith. Born on April 17, 1927, in Elberta, Utah, Beverly had attended Franklin and Maeser elementary schools, and had graduated from Provo High School in 1945.

Max earned a Bachelor of Arts in radio broadcasting from BYU, graduating in the BYU Class of 1949.

From 1957 to 1961 Max Golightly taught speech and theatre arts at Brigham Young High School in Provo.

Earlier, he had taught speech and drama from 1951-53 at Provo High School, and from 1953-57 at Citrus Junior College in Glendora, California.

During his various teaching assignments, he completed his Master of Arts degree at BYU with an emphasis in playwriting and directing.

Max Golightly & his dog, Oola
Max Golightly & his dog, Oola

BYU Professor Max Golightly
BYU Professor Max Golightly

He joined the faculty at BYU in 1961 where he became Professor of Theatre and Cinematic Arts, teaching there until his retirement in 1989.

He was an accomplished and well-known writer, and received national honors and first place prizes in poetry and play writing. His theatrical writings consist of some 30 plays, titles from which won local, regional and national recognition. His poetry also garnered its share of publication and awards. Mr. Golightly was listed in several Who's Who Anthologies in Theatre and Civic Affairs.

During 1968-69, he served as president of the national Federation of State Poetry Societies of America, shortly after winning a publication award for his first book of verse, "Ibid.", and in 1970 was chosen Utah Poet of the Year for his book, "A Morning of Taurus."

In 1978 he was honored by the Louisiana State Poetry Society as "Distinguished American Poet," for his encouragement of young poets in America, and was given a key to the city by the mayor of New Orleans.

He was a distinguished lecturer and reader, acted in 12 movies and in more than 30 plays, and directed 54 productions, musicals and operas.

Mr. Golightly's many roles included Charles in Blithe Spirit in March 1974 at the Promised Valley Playhouse in Salt Lake City. Among the numerous plays he has directed are the opera La Boheme, Kiss Me Kate, How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, The Little Foxes, Richard III, and the world premiere at BYU of the opera Pilgrim's Progress, and the musical by Carol Lynn Wright Pearson (BYH Class of 1957) The Order ls Love.

His play The Moonview won a Utah Fine Arts Award in 1974 and was produced at the Moab, Utah, Community Theatre. In 1975 he was Guest Director at the Playmill, West Yellowstone, Montana. Mr. Golightly was chosen to direct the musical extravaganza Brigham for the 1976 Bicentennial celebration in Provo, which featured a cast of 120 and played in the BYU Marriott Center for seven nights.

He directed numerous plays, including tragedies, comedies, farces, melodramas, musicals and premieres galore, for Max was “father” to the new play program at BYU in the 1960s. He also helped develop the Mask Club program and the Playwrights/Directors/Actors Workshop.

Max C. Golightly
Max Golightly taught 28 years at BYU

Beginning in 1989 he served on the Provo Fine Arts Council, and was honored with the Outstanding Contribution of the Cultural Arts of 1992 award.

Throughout his life, he was active in and served many leadership positions in the LDS Church. During 1993 to 1995, he served an LDS Church Service Mission as Chairman of Casting for Church Films.

He was described professionally as moderator of playwriting, actor, vocalist, Master of Ceremonies, show host; director of plays: contemporary, classical, and special-effects characterizations; lecturer in acting, playwriting, play directing, poetry, self encouragement.

He had the gift of giving of himself, of his time, and of his talents, to anyone who needed them, after which he became their greatest fan, the greatest support, and the greatest praiser of these same talents in others. When Max stood in a group he rarely stood to be seen as himself. He was the first to stand in ovation for another person.

Beverly Keith Golightly, wife of Max C. Golightly
Beverly Keith Golightly

BYU Emeritus Professor Max C. Golightly retired from the BYU Department of Theatre & Film after twenty-eight years of teaching. He died on April 10, 1997 at his home in Provo, at the age of 72.

He was survived by his wife, Beverly, four sons and one daughter: Gary D. (Janeen R. Severson) Golightly (BYH Class of 1968) of Provo, Utah; Laurynda Gae (Michael) Lott of Las Vegas, Nevada; Kim Oliver (Anne Elizabeth Ashworth) Golightly of Bethesda, Maryland; Kyle Chatterton (Michelle Briggs) Golightly of Orem, Utah; Guy Parley Keith (Christine Call) Golightly of Denver, Colorado.

He was also survived by 19 grandchildren and one great-grandchild, two brothers, William Hal (Dortha Burbank) Golightly of Salt Lake City; Jesse C. Golightly of Ogden, Utah; one sister Mary LaRue (Orville Dewaine "Duke") Robison of Kaysville, Utah.

He was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers: Card William Golightly and Joseph Emory Golightly and and two sisters: Virginia Dena Thatcher and Marjorie Jensen. Max Chatterton Golightly was buried in the Goshen, Utah City Cemetery.

~ ~ ~ ~

Beverly Keith Golightly, 81, of Provo, passed away Saturday, November 29, 2008. Beverly focused her time and energy on her family. She also worked at various times as a window decorator, commercial artist, interior decorator, and dance instructor. She was a gifted artist. In her last years she devoted herself to writing, which she termed "painting with words." She appreciated and collected all things old, worn, and weathered, especially bottles, and all kinds of books. She had an engaging sense of humor. Her interment, beside her beloved husband, in the Goshen, Utah City Cemetery.

Some Poetry & Plays by Max C. Golightly

The Token, Play

Turn the Gas Back On, Collaboration, Play

Fauntleroy! Musical Play

Listen to the Snow, Drama

Night on Needlepoint, Drama

A Little Matter of We, Play

Pinocchio, Youth Theatre Musical

Rose - The Kewpie Lady, Collaboration, Lyrics

Miss Helen, published 1961, Poem

Ibid., 1967, Poem

A Morning of Taurus, published 1970, Poetry Collection

Widow Spring, published 1974, Poem

The Moonview, 1974, Play

China in my Head, 1987
Max Golightly published his poetry in the Prairie Schooner, Coastline, Kaleidograph, The Search, Wye Magazine, Tulsa Poetry Quarterly, South and West, Discourses on Poetry, Human Voice Quarterly, Utah Sings, Prize poems of the NFSPS, and in many other periodicals and newspapers. He also published in BYU Studies, Utah Speech Magazine, and the Utah Music Educator.

Click on titles for links.

Brigham Young - Biographies
BYH Biographies