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James K. McDermott, Jr., 49, award-winning writer and director, died on January 1, 2013 after a long and courageous battle against malignant melanoma. Jim graduated from Yale in 1985 with a B.A. in Middle English. He moved to Chicago in 1986 to pursue his career as film-director and playwright. His play, repeat w/Madeline, played in New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles. In 1999, he received a Jefferson Citation for "Outstanding New Work" for his play Warhawks and Lindberghs. His movie, Nightingale in a Music Box won the Jury Prize for Outstanding Screenplay at the Slamdance 2004 film festival. He received the Best Director prize for Nightingale at the 2005 Shriekfest film festival. McDermott also wrote under the name "Hurt McDermott". In 2012, he completed "Artifice, Ruse, and Erdnase," the story of the search for the true identity of S.W. Erdnase, published in hardback in April 2012. James Mcdermott is survived by his wife of 23 years, Mary McGrae McDermott, MD and their children Lucy, John, and David, his siblings Drew McDermott of New Haven, CT, John McDermott of Columbia, SC, and Marcia McDermott of Chicago, IL. Preceded in death by parents James Kenneth McDermott, Sr. and Lucy Lea McDermott (nee Hurt) and brother Philip (Irene) McDermott. Uncle, cousin, friend, and colleague of many. A memorial service will take place Friday, Jan. 4 at 2 p.m. at the Fourth Presbyterian Church, located at the corner of Michigan and Delaware, Chicago. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E. Chestnut St., Chicago 60611 www.fourthchurch.org. Arrangements by Cremation Society of Illinois, 773-281-5058 or www.cremation-society.com.

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Published in Chicago Tribune on Jan. 3, 2013.
Memories & Condolences
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7 entries
March 20, 2013
Jim, I remember you telling me that your plays were like chalk drawings on the sidewalk, there to be enjoyed for a short time, and then to be washed away by the rain, and forgotten. You found that philosophy comforting. I am sorry we didn't stay in touch, but I will never forget you or your chalk drawings, and I thank you for sharing them with us.
Mary Dean
February 8, 2013
Jim was my favorite playwright - I have such vivid memories of repeat with Madeleine (so much laughter & complete capture of my world at the time), the Lindbergh work, and Sleepwalker. I admired and liked him (and Mary) so much, and though we lost touch over the years,my admiration continued, hearing of his bravery in fighting his illness and his creative,zestful life. All my sympathy to his family.
Mary Jean Dolan
January 7, 2013
jim was an inspiration to all who knew him. his unique voice and gentle spirit will be greatly missed. it was a blessing and a gift to have worked with jim. his legacy will live on. peace to the family. pam gaye & jw walker
pam gaye walker
January 4, 2013
I just heard the news..I am stunned, and sad, and so so sorry. Jim was a true friend and artistic comrade: a challenge, an inspiration, and a creative, clever collaborator. I am proud of our work together and wish we could do more. All blessings and consolation to his beloved Mary and the children.
Amy Ludwig
January 3, 2013
Goodbye Jim...I was wonderful having known you. My sympathy to your family.
Rich Krueger
January 3, 2013
Jim, Junior, Hurt,
I've been reading your blog and feel like I got to spend a little more time with you on this earth. You're definitely an artistic hero but you and Mary are also personal heroes: You were the first among our friends to get married and the challenges of health issues no doubt put lots of strain on you both, yet you are one of the rare successful marriages I know: An achievement never given accolades except in obituaries. There was so much joy in your capturing of the human experience, and taking it seriously. I feel like I should attend a new play every month, just to celebrate your life. With much and fondness, Jean and Mike Lotus.
Jean Lotus
January 3, 2013
May joy soon replace the sorrow that's in your heart with cherished memories as you celebrate a life that was well lived.
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