Terrence McNally, a pioneer of American theater and multiple Tony Award-winning playwright, has died from complications due to coronavirus at the age of 81, according to his representative Matt Polk.
McNally passed away on Tuesday at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Sarasota, Florida, according to ABC News.
He was a cancer survivor and lost parts of his lungs to his battle against lung cancer in the 1990s. He suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease after recovering from lung cancer.
Tributes pour in on Twitter
Fans, colleagues, and entertainment world stars have been paying tribute on Twitter since the news of McNally’s death broke. Stars who have paid tribute so far include Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jason Alexander, and Mark Hamil.
Heartbroken over the loss of Terrence McNally, a giant in our world, who straddled plays and musicals deftly. Grateful for his staggering body of work and his unfailing kindness.
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) March 24, 2020
We lost a great artist today. I worked for and with Terrence McNally twice in my life and they were two of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had. His work was vital, intense, hysterical and rare. My hope is that he will inspire writers for years to come. #RIPTerrenceMcNally
— jason alexander (@IJasonAlexander) March 24, 2020
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) March 24, 2020
Who was Terrence McNally?
Terrence McNally was born in St. Petersburg, Florida, on November 3, 1938, to Hubert and Dorothy. He had a younger brother named Peter.
McNally and his family moved to New York after a hurricane destroyed his parents’ seaside grill business. The family finally to Corpus Christi in Texas.
McNally’s parents instilled a love for theater in him from a young age. They took him to see musicals such as Annie Get Your Gun.
But according to McNally, his parents drank a lot. He revealed in the 2018 documentary, Terrence McNally: Every Act of Life, that there “wasn’t a day when my parents weren’t drunk.”
He said he and his brother, Peter, would sometimes go hungry while their mom was drinking with friends.
Despite the challenges, he went on to become a great writer, thanks to his high school teacher, Maurine McElroy, who encouraged him.
After he finished high school in Corpus Christi, McNally returned to New York to attend Columbia University.
McNally was known for his Broadway plays and musicals
McNally was known for writing musicals such as Ragtime, Kiss of the Spider Woman, and The Full Monty. He also created musical adaptations of movies such as Anastasia and Catch Me If You Can.
He was also known for plays such as Master Class, Mothers and Sons, and Love! Valour! Compassion!
He also wrote movies, such as Frankie and Johnny, adapted from his play Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune. The film starred Al Pacino and Michelle Pfeiffer.
He won the Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical for Kiss of the Spider Woman in 1993. He won the Tony Award for Best Play for Love! Valour! Compassion! in 1995. He also won Tony Awards for Master Class in 1996 and Ragtime in 1998.
He received a Pulitzer nomination for his play, A Perfect Ganesh, in 1994, and was awarded the Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre in 2019.
McNally was openly gay
McNally was openly gay and some of his work covered the subjects of same-sex love, homophobia, and AIDS.
He met his partner Tom Kirdahy, an attorney and theater producer, in 2001. They married in 2010 after a civil union in 2003.
McNally is survived by Kirdahy, his brother Peter, and a nephew Stephen, among other family members, per Broadway World.
Other celebs have also tested positive for coronavirus
McNally is one of several celebrities who tested positive for coronavirus.
Monsters and Critics reported that Tom Hanks took to Instagram earlier in the month to announce that he and his wife, Rita Wilson, had tested positive for coronavirus in Australia. He later updated fans that they were recovering in quarantine after receiving treatment at a hospital in Queensland, Australia.
Other celebs who tested positive for coronavirus but have recovered included Olga Kurylenko and Daniel Dae Kim.
Idris Elba also reported that he tested positive for the virus. Although Elba’s wife, Sabrina Dhowre Elba, was not immediately tested, Elba later updated fans that his wife had also tested positive for the virus.
According to Worldometer, as of March 24, 21:10 GMT (5:20 p.m. ET), there were 417,620 cases of coronavirus infection that have been confirmed worldwide, with 18,605 deaths. In the U.S., 52,950 cases have been confirmed with 685 deaths, as of this report.
The CDC offers information on how to avoid coronavirus infection.