Acclaimed Playwright Mark Medoff Dies at 79

Tony Award-winner Mark Medoff passed away at the age of 79, after a long battle with cancer. He entered hospice care earlier this year after suffering a fall. 

His daughter Jessica confirmed the news to the Las Cruces Sun News on Tuesday. He passed away surrounded by family, at the Mesilla Valley Hospice. 

Medoff wrote more than 30 plays throughout his career and directed 19 films. He also received an Oscar nomination for his adaption of "Children of a Lesser God."

Phyllis Frelich, Heather Tom, playwrite Mark Medoff and Andre De Shields at the after party of "Prymate" in New York. Photo: Getty Images/GlobalImagesUkraine

Phyllis Frelich, Heather Tom, playwrite Mark Medoff and Andre De Shields at the after party of "Prymate" in New York. Photo: Getty Images/GlobalImagesUkraine

Medoff's colleagues took to social media to express their grief. "How I Met Your Mother" star Neil Patrick Harris said he owes his career to Medoff: 

"He essentially discovered me [...] Wrote Clara’s Heart, championed me for the role. Without him, I’d be nowhere. RIP, Mark. Thank you. Sending love to his amazing family."

In addition award-winning "West Wing" actor Marlee Matlin said Medoff "insisted and fought the studio that the role [in "Children of a Lesser God"] be played by a deaf actor."

She added, "I would not be here as an Oscar winner if it weren’t for him. RIP Dear Mark."

Soshanna Stern, the creator of "This Close," said Medoff changed her life and inspired her to pursue "the path [she's] currently on." She said: 

"Forever honored to have played Sarah for the 30th-anniversary revival of [Deaf West.] Rest in Peace."

Medoff is survived by his second wife, Stephanie Thorne – to whom he was married since 1972 – as well as their three daughters and eight grandchildren.