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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