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Playwright Arthur Laurents dead at 93

May 5, 2011 at 11:27 PM   |   Comments

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NEW YORK, May 5 (UPI) -- Playwright, librettist and screenwriter Arthur Laurents died Thursday in his New York home, following a brief, unspecified illness, his agent said. He was 93.

The Tony Award-winning Brooklyn native penned the plays "Home of the Brave" and "The Time of the Cuckoo" before Jerome Robbins asked him to contribute the librettos to two iconic musicals -- "West Side Story," with music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and "Gypsy," with music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Sondheim, Playbill.com said.

Laurents and Sondheim also collaborated on the musicals "Anyone Can Whistle" and "Do I Hear a Waltz?"

Although Laurents enjoyed great success directing the 1980s version of "La Cage aux Folles," his 1991 staging of "Nick & Nora" was a flop, Playbill.com said.

Other plays he wrote include "Jolson Sings Again," "Big Potato," "Two Lives," "Claudio Lazlo," "Attacks on the Heart" and "My Good Name."

He also penned the screenplays for the films "The Way We Were" and "The Turning Point."

Laurents was predeceased in 2006 by Tom Hatcher, his partner for 52 years.

"Of all his accomplishments the one he was most proud of was his relationship with Tom Hatcher," Laurents' agent Jonathan Lomma told the magazine. "They lived together in total happiness for 52 years and I hope they're together again. In a business that values youth and the current trend Arthur Laurents remained relevant until he was 93 years old. He was a good and honorable man and we'll miss him."

© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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