Arthur Laurents | Deaths | New York | News | Theatre

Playwright, Screenwriter, Director Arthur Laurents Dead at 93


Arthur Laurents has died at 93. Two graphs from the lengthy NYT obit:

Arthur Laurents, the playwright, screenwriter and director who wrote and ultimately transformed two of Broadway’s landmark shows, “Gypsy” and “West Side Story,” and created one of Hollywood’s most well-known romances, “The Way We Were,” died on Thursday at his home in Manhattan. He was 93. The cause was complications of pneumonia, said Scott Rudin, a producer of the most recent Broadway revival of “Gypsy.”


He had also long since cast off whatever remaining doubts he had about his homosexuality and soon lost count of the sexual experiences he had while in the Army. In “Original Story By,” a memoir published in 2000, he was frank about his gay encounters, referring to his partners as “those unremembered hundreds.” Tom Hatcher, a former actor and real estate developer, would be his companion for 52 years.

The image up top is from a fairly recent New York magazine article on his return to the stage at 91 with his revival of West Side Story.

Two years ago, Mo Rocca delivered a thorough interview of 91-year-old Arthur Laurents in the context of his revival of West Side Story on Broadway. In addition to plenty of rehearsal  and show footage, they also sat down to discuss his reputation for being mean, Barbra Streisand, and his late longtime partner Tom Hatcher.

Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...


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  1. I don't like how the New York Times seems to be equating homosexuality with promiscuity. They are two different words, each with a unique definition. We in the GLBT community, especially we men, need to be hyper-obervant in how the media portrays our sexual orientation. If we let the media get away with such equations, it ultimately harms us.

    As for Mr Laurents, rest in peace from a life well lived.

    Posted by: brian | May 6, 2011 9:39:23 AM

  2. Farewell. :(

    Posted by: luminum | May 6, 2011 9:50:03 AM

  3. The Times didn't do that. Arthur described himself as a sexual being.

    Proudly. And, frequently, embarrassingly.

    His response to your prissy sanctimoniousness would have blistering and withering.

    You would have walked away destroyed.

    Posted by: JeffNYC | May 6, 2011 9:54:32 AM

  4. His wonderful work will live.

    Posted by: Matt26 | May 6, 2011 9:55:40 AM

  5. A great practitioner of the American Musical Theatre has passed, but hit torch will burn brightly forever!

    Posted by: Jim | May 6, 2011 10:06:56 AM

  6. I accept that it wasn't the NY Times that made the parallel. I misinterpreted the article above.

    In any case, promiscuity is promiscuity. It is not the definition of the homosexual orientation. Arthur Laurents lived the type of lifestyle he so desired. However, it isn't my lifestyle and nor do I consider it the definition of the homosexual orientation.

    Posted by: brian | May 6, 2011 10:09:48 AM

  7. Quite an extraordinary man, and it feels like the passing of an era, sic transit gloria mundi and all that.

    Posted by: Rick S. | May 6, 2011 10:15:22 AM

  8. I've got some shocking news for you Brian: it doesn't matter if we were all either in 17 year exclusive relationships or celibate otherwise, we'll still be hated simply *because we exist*. It's futile to think that if we just conform to some ideal, bias will go away, a % of people simply want us to disappear completely.

    Posted by: Henry Holland | May 6, 2011 10:19:53 AM

  9. "His response to your prissy sanctimoniousness would have blistering and withering. You would have walked away destroyed." ...

    ... if only for the abject ignorance amply demonstrated by you, Brian, in your appraisal of the obituary, its intent, its references, and its focus. A skill set in basic reading and comprehension would benefit you well prior to engaging the gears of a self-righteous and totally miscast sensitivity concurrent with professional victim-hood.

    JeffNYC: +100. Bravo, indeed.

    Posted by: dave02657 | May 6, 2011 11:31:42 AM

  10. His biography is a must read- a truly remarkable life- and his artistic legacy will endure.

    Posted by: jaragon | May 6, 2011 6:15:56 PM

  11. Thanks for the tip, Jaragon.

    Posted by: Tom | May 6, 2011 9:00:44 PM

  12. In a way, sex between men was more accepted back in the day, it just wasn't talked about. As for Laurents, as talented and gifted as he was, there certainly were a lot of people who hated his guts.

    Posted by: Phil | May 8, 2011 7:43:42 AM

  13. Also, Brian, don't ever forget that there will always be people who wants us non-existing out there, as opposed to the accepting and ever-loving, compassionate, warm and understanding environment that you'll receive here. By your own kind.

    Dave, Jeff - you dev/nulled your own arguments yourself. If nothing else, Arthur would have dearly appreciated the irony.

    Posted by: Sam | May 8, 2011 12:58:18 PM

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