Thursday, March 5, 2009

Horton Foote dies at age 92

Horton Foote is my favorite playwright. So, it made me sad this morning to read this from CNN:

Horton Foote, the Pulitzer Prize- and Academy Award-winning screenwriter of "To Kill a Mockingbird," has died, according to officials at the Hartford Stage theater, where he was working on a production of several of his plays.

He was 92.

Foote was born in Wharton, Texas, and, at age 16 moved to California to study acting. He would later move to New York, where he would transition to writing for the stage, television and movies, according to the Internet Movie Database.

He won the Oscar for best adapted screenplay in 1962 for his reworking of Harper Lee's classic novel "To Kill A Mockingbird," and another for best original screenplay in 1983 for "Tender Mercies," which starred Robert Duvall as a down-and-out country singer.

He also was nominated for 1985's "The Trip to Bountiful."

In 1995, his play "The Man From Atlanta" was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for drama.

I have had the pleasure of directing an amateur production of "The Trip to Bountiful." It is a beautifully written piece. Foote was "an actor's writer", meaning that he wrote scripts that actors couldn't wait to get their hands on. He was a student of human nature and the complexities of conflict and interaction. You could tell that there was always a thread of empathy and compassion written into the portrayals of those individuals society regards as "bad". Foote understood that we are all broken and flawed, from the chosen to the lonesome.

The entertainment industry could use more writers like him.

It saddens me that he's gone.

No comments: