Thursday, May 3, 2012

William Inge's play Picnic won a Pulitzer

William Inge
It is the birthday of playwright and novelist William Inge (1913), whose play Picnic (1953) won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Inge also wrote Come Back, Little Sheba, which ran on Broadway in 1950, starring Shirley Booth, who also starred in the movie adaptation and won an Oscar and a Golden Globe award for her performance. His play Glory in the Flower (1953) became a television production on Omnibus, starring Hume Cronyn, Jessica Tandy, and James Dean. His plays Bus Stop (1955) and The Dark at the Top of the Stairs (1957) also had successful runs on Broadway, and were later adapted for film. His play A Loss of Roses (1959) starred Carol Haney, Warren Beatty, and Betty Field. It was later adapted for film as The Stripper. He wrote Splendor in the Grass (1961) as a screenplay, and it won an Oscar. He adapted James Leo Herlihy's novel All Fall Down for a 1962 film. He wrote the screenplay for Bus Riley's Back in Town (1965) but was unhappy with changes that were made in the final film so demanded that the screenplay credit go to "Walter Gage." In November 1964, his play Out on the Outskirts of Town was broadcast on NBC. It starred Anne Bancroft and Jack Warden. Inge wrote two novels, Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff (1970) and My Son is a Splendid Driver (1971). The first deals with a public humiliation in the 1950s with a high school Latin teacher who has an affair with the school's black janitor. The second is an autobiographical novel that deals with the author's loneliness growing up. Inge committed suicide in 1973.

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