Thursday, March 12, 2009

Today in Gay History

Happy Birthday

Edward Albee, Playwright, b. March 12, 1928

Edward Albee holds a problematic position in the histories of American drama and of gay drama. For a handful of years, he seemed to be the heir to the late Eugene O'Neill and to Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams, who had, by the early 1960s, lost their winning streaks. However, Albee was something of a has-been by the mid-1960s, due largely to the self-loathing gay mafia/media in the '60s and '70s.

A less than diligent student, he later dedicated much of his time to promoting American university theatre, frequently speaking at campuses and serving as a distinguished professor at the University of Houston from 1989 to 2003.

Albee's best known popular work is probably, Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf (1961-62). He later received three Pulitzer Prizes for Drama — for A Delicate Balance (1967), Seascape (1975), and Three Tall Women (1994); ; the Gold Medal in Drama from the American Academy and Institutes of Arts and Letters (1980); recognition in the Kennedy Center Honors (1996) and the National Medal of the Arts(1996); and a Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement (2005).

Albee's longtime partner, Jonathan Thomas, a sculptor, died on May 2, 2005, the result of a two year-long battle with bladder cancer.


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