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Mart Crowley, Author of The Boys in the Band, Dead at 84

Mart Crowley, Author of The Boys in the Band, Dead at 84

Boys in the Band Film cast with Mart Crowley
Mart Crowley at left with the cast of the 1970 film of The Boys in the Band

The groundbreaking gay playwright reportedly died a few days after heart surgery.

Famed gay playwright Mart Crowley, author of The Boys in the Band, about a group of gay and bi friends in New York City,has died at age 84.

Journalist Michael Musto announced Crowley's death Sunday via Facebook and Twitter. "I hear Mart had a heart attack, went for surgery and died a few days after the surgery," Musto wrote in a comment on his Facebook post.

The Boys in the Band, one of the first plays to portray gay life, opened off-Broadway in 1968 and became a film in 1970. As the LGBTQ rights movement grew, the work received criticism for depicting gay and bisexual men as self-loathing, but it was groundbreaking for its time.

And it has retained its power. It was produced on Broadway in 2018 with an all-star cast of out actors, including Andrew Rannells, Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, Matt Bomer, and more. The production won a Tony for Best Revival of a Play, and Netflix is making a movie of it with the Broadway cast.

Crowley was a well-known Hollywood raconteur and friend to many stars, including Natalie Wood, who encouraged him to write The Boys in the Band. He wrote several other plays, including a sequel, The Men From the Boys, and worked on the television series Hart to Hart.

Tributes are pouring in.

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