Terrence McNally, the longtime playwright responsible for modern classics of American theater like Love! Valor! Compassion! and Master Class, has died of complications from coronavirus. He was 81.
McNally passed away earlier today in Sarasota, FL. The news was confirmed by his publicist Matt Polk. In addition to winning back-to-back Tony Awards for the aforementioned plays in 1995 and 1996, McNally also took home honors for penning the books to 1986 musical Kiss Of The Spider Woman and 1998's Ragtime. Just last year, he was awarded the Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement In The Theater, timed to the revival of his 1982 work Frankie And Johnny At The Clair De Lune, starring Audra McDonald and Michael Shannon. He was also inducted into the American Academy Of Arts And Letters in 2018, the highest recognition of artistic merit bestowed by the United States.
McNally spent six decades working in the theater, and along the way also won Emmys, Obies, two Guggenheim Fellowships, and a Rockefeller Grant. More controversially, he also drew attention—both of the good and bad kind—for his fantastic passion play Corpus Christi, which reenvisioned Jesus and his apostles as gay men in Texas. All told, McNally wrote more than 50 plays, musicals, operas, films, and TV screenplays. He is survived by his husband, Thomas Kirdahy.