First reported by Deadline.com was the sad news that legendary director and writer Arthur Laurents has passed away at 93 years old, dying in his sleep. The Los Angeles Times has added a short statement from Jonathan Lomma, Laurents' agent at William Morris Agency who confirmed his death Thursday, saying that "he died earlier this evening, peacefully in his sleep, at his home in New York City, after a short illness."
Laurents' first play, Home of the Brave, opened on Broadway in 1945, followed by many others. His newest play, Come Back, Come Back, Wherever You Are, starring Shirley Knight and Alison Fraser came right on the heels of his New Year's Eve starring Marlo Thomas and Keith Carradine at his favorite theatre, the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick.
He wrote his first musical, West Side Story, in 1957, followed by Gypsy and others. His first screenplay was The Snake Pit in 1948, followed by others including Rope, Anastasia, The Way We Were and The Turning Point. His own play, Invitation to a March in 1960, was the first of several he directed. I Can Get It for You Wholesale in 1961 was the first musical he directed, followed by others including La Cage aux Folles and Gypsy with Angela Lansbury, then Tyne Daly and most recently, Patti LuPone.
In 2000, he wrote a memoir, Original Story By. His latest book, Mainly on Directing: West Side Story, Gypsy, and Other Musicals, was published in March 2009. Most recently, he was writing a new book, The Rest of The Story and working on a potential deal for a film version of Gypsy starring Barbra Streisand.
Established in 2010, The LAURENTS / HATCHER FOUNDATION AWARD is an annual prize to be given for an un-produced, full-length play of social relevance by an emerging American playwright. In addition to being one of the country's largest grants for new work, The Laurents / Hatcher Foundation Award is the first major award for playwrighting to be named in honor of a gay couple: Tony Award winning playwright and director Arthur Laurents and his partner of 52 years, Tom Hatcher.
Tom Hatcher, Laurent's long-time partner died in October 2006. Hatcher had begun his career as an actor but moved into real estate as a contractor and then as a developer. He created the private park adjoining the house in Quogue, Long Island that was home for the couple.