Family & Companions
A playwright whose name is synonymous with the best of American theater, Edward Albee was born in Virginia in 1928. A nonconformist from early in his life, Albee was expelled from two high schools and a liberal arts college before he set out on his own with the intention of becoming a writer. He settled in New York's artist-centric Greenwich Village and published his first play, "The Zoo Story," in 1959. The early effort won Albee the Drama Desk Vernon Rice Award, so beginning a long and storied career paved with accolades and overall acclaim. He would win three Pulitzer Prizes during his career for 1967's "A Delicate Balance," 1975's "Seascape," and 1991's "Three Tall Women." Additionally, Albee's most famous work, 1963's "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" was chosen for the award by Pulitzer's drama section, but was overruled by the organization's advisory committee, which opted not to give the award out at all that year. Albee also won three Tonys-including a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005-and was nominated for five more. Though he was openly gay, Albee was vocally opposed to being characterized as a gay playwright rather than as "a playwright who happens to be gay." His many works have been praised by critics for their ingenious Americanization of European absurdism, and he famously established the artist colony the Edward F. Albee Foundation, Inc. in 1967, which was continually funded by Albee's royalties from "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" Albee passed away at his home in Montauk, New York in 2016. He was 88 years old.
Cast (Feature Film)
Writer (Feature Film)
Special Thanks (Special)
Adopted by the Albee family
At age 12, reportedly wrote first play, a sex farce called "Aliqueen"; no copies are extant
Completed his first surviving play, "Schism," which was produced at Choate
After high school, worked at radio station WNYC writing continuity for programs
First produced play, "The Zoo Story"; premiered in Berlin; opened in NYC in 1960 with George Maharis and William Daniels in the cast, performed on a double bill Off-Broadway with Samuel Beckett's "Krapp's Last Tape"
Premiered "The Death of Bessie Smith" in Berlin; staged in NYC in 1961
Breakthrough play, the scorching look at marriage, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"; opened on Broadway with Uta Hagen and Arthur Hill in leading roles
Stage directing debut with "The Zoo Story"
Adapted the Carson McCullers novella "The Ballad of the Sad Cafe" for the stage
"Tiny Alice" premiered in NYC to mixed reviews; starred John Geilgud and Irene Worth
Received his first Pulitzer Prize for the play "A Delicate Balance," with characters loosely based on his parents and his maternal aunt
Film version of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolfe?" made; directed by Mike Nichols; script adapted by Ernest Lehman; actresses Elizabeth Taylor and Sandy Dennis won Oscars for performances; Richard Burton and George Segal received Academy Award nominations
Received praise for the drama "All Over"
Solo screenwriting credit, the film adaptation of his own play "A Delicate Balance"
Broadway directing debut with "Seascape", his Pulitzer-winning drama about a middle-aged couple who encounter a pair of lizard-like sea creatures; critics reviled the production which closed after a brief run
Returned to the New York theater after a five-year absence with "The Lady From Dubuque"
Penned the stage adaptation of Vladimir Nobokov's novel "Lolita"; the production starred Blanche Baker and Donald Sutherland
Had yet another unsuccessful Broadway experience with "The Man Who Had Three Arms," starring Robert Drivas
Premiered "Marriage Play" in Vienna, which was later produced at Houston's Alley Theater in 1992 and in NYC at the Signature Theater in 1993
"Three Tall Women," which traced events in the life of his adoptive mother, premiered in Vienna; it was then staged in Woodstock, New York in 1992 and became an Off-Broadway hit in 1994
Had a season devoted to his works at the Signature Theater in NYC
Received his third Pulitzer Prize for "Three Tall Women"
Broadway revival of "A Delicate Balance" became a hit and won a Tony
Both "A Delicate Balance" (with Maggie Smith and Eileen Atkins) and "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (with David Suchet and Diana Rigg) produced in London
Premiere of "The Play About the Baby" in London; Albee directed staging at the Alley Theater in 2000 and Off-Broadway in 2001
Award winning play "The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?" about a man who is in love with a goat, opens on Broadway