The awarding-winning playwright Terrence Wright died on Tuesday due to Coronavirus complications. He was 81.
He died in Florida at the Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Sarasota, according to representative Matt Polk. McNally was a lung cancer survivor and lived with chronic inflammatory lung disease, reported USA Today.
The four time Tony winner was often regarded as “the bard of American theater.” He was known for works like “Ragtime,” “Master Class,” “Love! Valour! Compassion!” and “Kiss of the Spider Woman.”
A graduate of Columbia University, his first play, “And Things That Go Bump in the Night” hit the Great White Way in 1965.
McNally had also recently wrote the musical adaptations of hit movies like “Catch Me If You Can” and “Anastasia.” Both of these were played on Broadway.
In 1991 Mcnally penned the the famed “Frankie and Johnny” which starred Al Pacino and Michelle Pfeiffer. That piece even led to a Golden Globe nomination for Pfeiffer. In 1976 he wrote “The Ritz,” which was adapted from his Broadway play and starred Rita Moreno.
McNally was known for bringing gay representation to the stage and he explored the HIV/AIDS crisis in his plays like “Mothers and Sons.” McNally lost his then-longtime partner, Gary Bonasorte, to AIDS-related lymphoma in 2000. Bonasorte was a fellow playwright and AIDS research activist.
“It required the temperament to say, ‘This is who I am. I want to be Terrence McNally,’” the playwright responded.
“And my life has made me who I am. So, I didn’t think of writing as a gay man as brave,” he added. “I respected the playwrights and artists who chose to remain closeted, but it angered me. I thought it was morally wrong not to stand up and say, ‘Hey, I’m one of them.’”
The New York Post reported that Mayor Bill de Blasio, 58, hailed McNally as “a great New Yorker, one of the most really renowned members of our cultural community.” on Tuesday’s City Hall press conference.
Others stars also paid their respects to McNally via Twitter, USA Today. reported.
“We lost a great artist today,” wrote Jason alexander. “I worked for and with Terrence McNally twice in my life and they were two of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had. His work was vital, intense, hysterical and rare. My hope is that he will inspire writers for years to come.”
Lin-Manuel Miranda, another famed playwright, also tweeted about McnAlly’s passing. “Heartbroken over the loss of Terrence McNally, a giant in our world, who straddled plays and musicals deftly,” Miranda wrote. “Grateful for his staggering body of work and his unfailing kindness.”
McNally is survived by his brother and his husband Tom Kirdahy, a Tony-winning theater producer.