Wednesday Mar 25, 2020
Multiple Tony-winning playwright Terrence McNally died Tuesday at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Sarasota, Florida.
The writer of "Kiss of the Spider Woman" and "Frankie" and "Johnny" was a survivor of lung cancer who lived with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). He died of complications from the coronavirus, his spokesman confirmed.
With wit and thoughtfulness, he tackled the strains in families, war, and relationships and probed the spark and costs of creativity. He was an openly gay writer who wrote about homophobia, love and AIDS.
McNally’s long career began in 1961 when John Steinbeck asked him to work together on a number of projects, including a musical version of "East of Eden". Throughout the 60s, McNally wrote a number of plays, including "Noon", Next directed by Elaine May and "And Things That Go Bump in the Night," which drew criticism at the time for its gay content.
McNally’s 1992 musical "Kiss of the Spider Woman" won him his first of four Tony awards. His other major works included "Love! Valour! Compassion!", "Master Class" and "Ragtime". He was awarded the Tony for lifetime achievement in 2019.
Tributes have arrived on Twitter from stage luminaries including Lin-Manuel Miranda. “Heartbroken over the loss of Terrence McNally, a giant in our world, who straddled plays and musicals deftly,” he tweeted. “Grateful for his staggering body of work and his unfailing kindness.”