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Arthur Laurents Dies at 93

Arthur Laurents Dies at 93

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Arthur Laurents, a truly legendary figure of the American theater, has died at 93 from complications of pneumonia, reports The New York Times.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Jonathan Lomma, Laurents' agent at William Morris Endeavor, 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 was an award-winning director, playwright, and screenwriter, who was perhaps best-known for writing the books to two milestones in musical theater, West Side Story and Gypsy. Laurents would eventually direct revivals of two shows - Gypsy in 1974 and again in 1989 and 2008, and West Side Story in 2009. He won the Tony for best direction for the 1983 Broadway musical La Cage aux Folles.

As a screenwriter, he wrote several classic films revered by gay audiences, including the 1949 Hitchcock homoerotic suspense classic Rope, the 1973 star-crossed romance The Way We Were, and the 1977 ballet drama The Turning Point.

Laurents published his memoir Original Story By in 2001, which candidly documented his gay encounters in the Army, as well as his relationships with actor Farley Granger and his partner of 52 years, Tom Hatcher, who preceded him in death in 2006.

Laurents most recently made news due to an on-again, off-again film adaptation of Gypsy to star Barbra Streisand.

Read Advocate's 2009 profile of Laurents here.

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