Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Demons and Dramas

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Demons and Dramas

Article excerpt

Edward Albee has had one of the weirdest lives of any famous American writer now living, as we learn in Mel Gussow's new biography of the 71-year-old three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright. Adopted as an infant by a wealthy couple, Albee grew up in WASP splendor. He was driven to Broadway shows as a child in one of the family's two Rolls-Royces, and every winter the clan decamped from the New York suburb of Larchmont to Palm Beach, traveling to Florida in his grandmother's two private railroad cars hooked to the back of a passenger train.

Lavished with money but emotionally frozen out by his pallid father and "dragon lady" mother, Albee fled the family at 20, spent a decade fumbling around Greenwich Village, and emerged at 30 a full-fledged playwright with 1959's The Zoo Story, an existential encounter between two strangers on a park bench.

Over the next six years, he had four more enormous successes, none greater than the 1962 Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? the play for which he will always be best known. This remarkable explosion of literary talent--all the more amazing for being dyspeptic, intellectually challenging, anything but warm and fuzzy--was followed by nearly 20 years of serious drinking and a string of increasingly mediocre plays. And then, just when it was time for him to die of an overdose or something, Albee zoomed back to prominence in 1994 with Three Tall Women. That play was an astonishingly gracious and poignant character study of the imperious, bigoted mother who insulted his friends, snubbed his lovers, and ultimately disinherited him because he is gay. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.