Edward Albee, ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’ Playwright, Dies at 88

Pulitzer Prize-winning writer died at his home in Montauk, New York

Last Updated: September 16, 2016 @ 5:41 PM

Edward Albee, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright behind “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” has died at the age of 88.

According to the Associated Press, Albee died at his home in Montauk, New York.

Albee’s groundbreaking play “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” was selected for the Pulitzer Prize in 1963, but was denied by the selection board due to its vulgarity. He later went on to win three Pulitzers throughout his career for “A Delicate Balance” in 1967, “Seascape” in 1975 and “Three Tall Women” in 1994.

The playwright was born Edward Harvey on March 12, 1928 in Washington D.C., and was shortly thereafter adopted by Reed and Frances Albee, who changed his name to Edward Franklin Albee III.

After attending multiple high schools and graduating in 1946, Albee enrolled in Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. He was soon expelled from the school for failing to attend classes.

Albee’s first play, “The Zoo Story,” was first staged in Berlin, then at the Provincetown Playhouse. The play won the 1960 Obie Award for Distinguished Play, as well as Distinguished Performance for star William Daniels.

He would then go on to write more than 25 plays, including “The Ballad of the Sad Cafe,” “Tiny Alice,” “A Delicate Balance,” “Three Tall Women” and “The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?,” among others.

The Edward Albee Society was not informed of the playwright’s passing, but David A. Crespy, who is also co-director of the University of Missouri Writing for Performance Program, told TheWrap on behalf of the organization, “He was the soul of American playwriting and fought to preserve it as an art form. He was an innovator, a challenging master teacher of the dramatist’s art, and the beating heart of the American Theatre.”

He continued: “I know that do many of us would never have been playwrights if it hadn’t been for Edward. He was a gift, a firebrand, a rebel, and one of the most generous theatre artists I have ever known. I am heartbroken.”

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