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Edward Albee (1928 - 2016)

AP Photo / Mary Altaffer

Edward Albee (1928 - 2016)

Edward Albee, the acclaimed playwright who wrote “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and “The Zoo Story,” died Friday, Sept. 16, 2016, in Montauk, Long Island, according to multiple news sources. He was 88.

Personal assistant Jakob Holder confirmed that Albee died at home according to The Associated Press. No cause of death was given.

Albee was one of the most acclaimed and influential American playwrights of the 20th century. He won the Tony Award for best play for “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” (1963) and “The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?” (2002). He was a three-time Pulitzer Prize-winner for drama, for “A Delicate Balance” (1967), “Seascape” (1975), and “Three Tall Women” (1994). “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” was denied a Pulitzer for its vulgarity, and no award was given that year.

Albee received a National Medal of Arts in 1996, a special Tony Award for lifetime achievement in 2005, and the America Award in Literature in 2015.

His work was influenced by European absurdist writers like Samuel Beckett, Eugene Ionesco, and Jean Genet. His first play, “The Zoo Story,” was first produced in Berlin in 1958.


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Born in 1928 in Virginia, Albee was adopted and raised in Westchester County, New York. His adoptive father’s family owned several theaters but did not encourage his artistic interests. He left his family’s home as a teenager and pursued a career as a playwright.

“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” was adapted into an Academy Award-nominated film by director Mike Nichols, starring Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, George Segal, and Sandy Dennis. Taylor won an Oscar for best actress, and Dennis won for best supporting actress.

Albee used proceeds from the success of the play and film to start the Edward F. Albee Foundation, which provides a residency for writers and visual artists in Montauk, New York while working on their art.

Albee was preceded in death by his longtime partner, Jonathan Thomas, who died in 2005.

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