Terrence McNally, Playwright, Five-Time Tony Recipient, Dies of Coronavirus Complications at 81
On Tuesday, Hollywood lost one of the greatest contemporary playwrights in the theater. Terrence McNally passed away at the age of 81 due to complications from the coronavirus.
The playwright had been a lung cancer survivor who suffered from another illness. He was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
McNally’s first Broadway play
The inflammatory lung disease causes obstruction in airflow from the lungs. McNally had a career that spanned over six decades.
He was famous for writing a series of plays, musicals, operas, films, and television projects. In 1964, McNally produced his first Broadway work with “And Things That Go Bump in the Night.”
Rest In Peace #TerrenceMcNally, I read your plays while growing up and yours are the words on which I floated to my dreams. ✏️— Nia Vardalos (@NiaVardalos) March 24, 2020
Some of his other works
The play wasn’t well-received by theater critics because of its open depiction of homosexuality. The failure didn’t discourage the playwright who went on to show the gay experience in more than 30 more plays.
Some of his work includes “The Ritz” (1975), “Lips Together,” “Teeth Apart” (1991), “Love! Valour! Compassion!” (1995), “Corpus Christi” (1998), and “Mother and Sons” (2014). The star was also a collaborator for writing books to musicals.
Heartbroken over the loss of Terrence McNally, a giant in our world, who straddled plays and musicals deftly. Grateful for his staggering body of work and his unfailing kindness.— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) March 24, 2020
His first credited Broadway musical
In 1984, he had his first credited Broadway musical called “The Rink.” On this project, he collaborated with composer John Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb.
Terrence McNally was one of the founding fathers of @BCEFA. Truly among the greatest playwrights in #Broadway history, Terrence gave voice to both the voiceless and those who can stand tall, not only through his art but also his actions. pic.twitter.com/szAFZn7G42— Broadway Cares (@BCEFA) March 24, 2020
Terrence’s many accolades
McNally has won four Tony Awards, Emmy’s, and a lifetime achievement Tony in 2019. Two of his Tony’s were for books for musicals, “Kiss of the Spider Woman” (1993), and “Ragtime” (1998).
My first acting award at a one-act festival in high school. My first Tony nomination was for Full Monty. Both shows written by Terrence McNally. He had a monumental impact on my career and will be missed. Rest In Peace, my friend. #RIPTerrenceMcNally— patrick wilson (@patrickwilson73) March 24, 2020
Putting homosexual lives onstage
The other two were for the plays “Love! Valour! Compassion!” and “Master Class” (1996). The first play was about gay men who share a vacation house while the second one was starred the opera diva, Maria Callas, who reflects on her career.
Mourned by many
McNally’s passing was mourned by many celebrities like “Hamilton‘s” Lin-Manuel Miranda, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding‘s” Nia Vardalos, and Patrick Wilson who starred in McNally’s “The Full Monty” on Broadway. The late playwright is survived by his husband Tom Kirdahy, his brother Peter, and nephew Stephen, among other family members.
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