Mart Crowley, ‘The Boys in the Band’ Playwright, Dies at 84

The 1968 play was one of the first to depict openly gay characters

mart crowley
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Mart Crowley, the Tony Award-winning playwright whose pioneering 1968 play “The Boys in the Band” became a groundbreaking landmark in representing gay life, has died at age 84.

Veteran journalist Michael Musto announced Crowley’s death via Facebook on Sunday.

Crowley had worked in the 1960s as an assistant to actress Natalie Wood, who encouraged him to write about the experiences of gay and bisexual men in what would become “The Boys in the Band,” depicting a Manhattan party that goes horribly wrong.

The play opened Off Broadway before the Stonewall riots brought new attention to gay urban life, and spawned both a 1970 movie as well as an acclaimed and starry Broadway revival in 2018 that featured out gay stars such as Jim Parsons, Matt Bomer, Zachary Quinto and Andrew Rannells. Crowley shared the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play for the production.

Netflix is planning to release a feature film version of the play later this year, produced by Ryan Murphy.

In 2002, Crowley produced a sequel to the play, “The Men From the Boys” in which many of the characters gather for a memorial service. In addition, Crowley worked as a script editor and producer for the early ’80s ABC series “Hart to Hart” starring Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers.