Tony-winning playwright Terrence McNally dies at 81 from coronavirus complications

Brenda Watkins
March 25, 2020

Tony award-winning playwright Terrence McNally, known for plays like "Love!"

McNally, a lung cancer survivor who lived with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, won back-to-back Tony Awards for his dramas "Love!"

"We've lost a great New Yorker, one of the most really renowned members of our cultural community - the great playwright Terrence McNally", de Blasio, a friend of McNally, said. Valour! Compassion! and Master Class, along with the musicals Kiss of the Spider Woman and Ragtime.

Broadway and NY theatres - the institutions where McNally made his mark - have been closed for more than a week due to the coronavirus outbreak. He finished his English degree at New York's Columbia University in 1960, graduating with high honours.

The esteemed playwright died Tuesday at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Sarasota, Florida, according to representative Matt Polk.

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Deadline reported that McNally is survived by his husband Tom Kirdahy, ro whom he has been married since 2003, as well as his brother Peter McNally. During his travels with Steinbeck's family, he was able to draft the opening act of his work that became And Things Go Bump in the Night.

Speaking to Vogue magazine in 1995, McNally said he would "win, hands down, the contest for worst first-place reviews - or any-play reviews". Over the course of his six-decade career, his work was heralded as a landmark in gay theatre by both critics and audiences alike.

McNally won numerous Tony Awards including a Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2019.

Standing before the crowd, with breathing tubes visible over his tuxedo, he joked that the accolade came "not a moment too soon". "He will be missed by so many of us".

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