Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Horton Foote Dies At Age 92

UPDATE: The New York Times times obit is here.

Horton Foote, who fit the definition of "Great American Playwright" as well as anyone, has died at the age of 92. He was writing up to the end. The New York Times has a piece on his death, I will post the full obituary when it becomes available.

Foote wrote over 50 plays and several screenplays, winning a Pulitzer for The Young Man From Atlanta and two Oscars for his screenplays to To Kill A Mockingbird and Tender Mercies. Most of his plays take place in Texas, where he grew up. He was often compared to Chekhov for his humane tone, both amused and saddened by humanity's foibles.

Many of his plays dealt with the lives of people who somehow could not adjust to modernity bearing down on them--most famously The Trip To Bountiful. I got to attend the opening night of the acclaimed revival starring Lois Smith at the Goodman, because my friend Emily appeared in the bus station scene. I saw Mr. Foote at the opening night party, though I did not go up and introduce myself. I did, however, get the chance to meet his daughter Hallie, one of his greatest stage interpreters.

Few people dug so deeply into the lives of characters that most people ignored. It's a shame he won't be writing any more, but how amazing that he wrote so much!

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