Irene Nothmann, photograph of Muriel Sharon, ca. 1960s. Courtesy estate of Irene Nothmann.

86. Muriel Sharon

Life Dates1918-1996
Place of BirthLakewood, OH, USA
Place of Deathunknown
Birth NameMuriel Schochen

Muriel Sharon (née Schochen) was born in Lakewood, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland.1 She was the second daughter of Benjamin Schochen and Ella Schwarz, both immigrants from Russia, and her father was a clothing merchant. She graduated in 1941 with a BS in Education from Western Reserve University (now Case Western University) and moved to New York City by the mid-1940s where she studied dance at the American School of Ballet and Martha Graham’s School of Dance (Graham apparently urged her to change her surname from Schochen to Sharon). Beginning in 1947, she became the director of the Children’s Drama Department of the YM-YWCA (now 92^nd^ Street Y) and remained its director until the early 1970s. Briefly, Sharon enrolled at Atelier 17 in the spring of 1952, appearing in Peter Grippe’s student ledger book.2 There befriended other artists who were interested in dance, like Christine Engler.3 Sharon purchased four small copper plates at Atelier 17, but no impressions taken from them are known to survive. In 1956, Sharon married the artist and art critic Sidney Tillim, cementing her lifelong ties to the visual arts community. She was clearly artistically inclined—there are doodles on envelopes and cards preserved in her papers at the New York Public Library—and she remained an important figure in the theater world.


Muriel Sharon papers, T-Mss 2000-039, Billy Rose Theatre Division, The New York Public Library.


  1. Muriel Sharon’s papers at the New York Public Library’s Billy Rose Theatre Division include biographical information about Sharon’s academic and professional experiences.
  2. Student ledger book, p. 37, Allentown Art Museum/Grippe Collection, Allentown, Penn.
  3. Muriel Sharon’s papers at the NYPL include three beautiful color engravings of dancers by Engler. See Muriel Sharon Papers, box 27, folder 1.