Playwright Terrence McNally Dies at 81 From Coronavirus Complications

Playwright Terrence McNally has died from coronavirus complications at the age of 81.

The Tony winner’s spokesperson Matt Polk confirmed that McNally died at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Sarasota, Florida, on Tuesday, March 24. The author, who previously battled lung cancer, was living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. McNally, whose famous works included Love! Valour! Compassion!, Master Class and Kiss of the Spider Woman, was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Tony Award in 2019.

“I love it when I remember the artists who try to help us understand the devastation of AIDS even when they were stricken with it themselves. I love it when I remember theatre changes hearts that secret place where we all truly live,” he said on stage in June 2019. “I love my playwright years: past, present, and especially future.”

Several members of the theatre community paid tribute to McNally after the news broke on Monday.

“Heartbroken over the loss of Terrence McNally, a giant in our world, who straddled plays and musicals deftly,” Lin-Manuel Miranda tweeted. “Grateful for his staggering body of work and his unfailing kindness.”

Aaron Tveit, who tested positive for coronavirus earlier this month, shared a photo with McNally via Instagram.

“Devastated to hear this,” the performer wrote. “One of the great joys of my professional life was getting to work with Terrence on Catch Me If You Can. I was constantly inspired by his amazing work which included pages of new dialogue on a preview day, flowing as if there was an unending well he was drawing from. One page better than the next. And I was so grateful for his gloriously supportive spirit. And I’m even more grateful to have gotten to know he and his dear husband Tom.”

Tveit concluded: “We have lost a true legend of the American Theatre.
Please watch his Documentary Every Act Of Life. Sending condolences and love to his family in this difficult time ?❤️?.”

Cynthia Nixon, meanwhile, took to Twitter. “So incredibly saddened by the passing of the great Terrence McNally—virtuosic playwright, fearless LGBT activist, and steadfast friend,” she tweeted. “There will never be another one like him.”

Patrick Wilson added, “My first acting award at a one-act festival in high school. My first Tony nomination was for Full Monty. Both shows written by Terrence McNally. He had a monumental impact on my career and will be missed. Rest In Peace, my friend. #RIPTerrenceMcNally.”

McNally is survived by his husband, Tom Kirdahy. The pair wed in 2003.

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