Edward Albee

Edward Albee

Infobox Writer
name = Edward Albee

caption = Edward Albee, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1961
birthdate = birth date and age|mf=yes|1928|3|12
birthplace = Washington D.C.
occupation = Dramatist
nationality = American
period = 1958 - present
notableworks = "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"; "The Zoo Story"; "The American Dream"
influences = Theatre of the Absurd
influenced = Paula Vogel
awards = Pulitzer (3); Tony Award (Lifetime Achievement); National Medal of Arts

Edward Franklin Albee III (pron-en|ˈɔːlbiː "AWL-bee"; born March 12, 1928) is a three time Pulitzer Prize winning American playwright known for works including "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?", "The Zoo Story", "The Sandbox" and "The American Dream". His works are considered well-crafted and often unsympathetic examinations of the modern condition. His early works reflect a mastery and Americanization of the Theatre of the Absurd that found its peak in works by European playwrights such as Jean Genet, Samuel Beckett, and Eugène Ionesco. Younger American playwrights, such as Pulitzer Prize-winner Paula Vogel, credit Albee's daring mix of theatricalism and biting dialogue with helping to reinvent the post-war American theatre in the early 1960s. Albee's dedication to continuing to evolve his voice — as evidenced in later productions such as "" (2000) — also routinely marks him as distinct from other American playwrights of his era.


According to "Magill's Survey of American Literature" (2007), Edward Albee was born somewhere in Virginia (contrary to the popular belief that he was born in Washington D.C.). He was adopted two weeks later and taken to Westchester County, New York. Albee's adoptive father, Reed A. Albee — himself the son of vaudeville magnate Edward Franklin Albee II — owned several theaters, where young Edward first gained familiarity with the theatre as a child. His adoptive mother was Reed's third wife, Frances.

Albee attended the Rye Country Day School in New York, then the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey, where he was expelled. He then was sent to Valley Forge Military Academy in Wayne, Pennsylvania, where he graduated in 1945 at the age of 17. He next enrolled in the graduate studies program at Choate prep school in Connecticut, graduating in 1946. His formal education continued at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, where he was expelled in 1947 for skipping classes and refusing to attend compulsory chapel.

Albee left home for good when he was in his late teens, later saying in an interview: "I never felt comfortable with the adoptive parents. I don't think they knew how to be parents. I probably didn't know how to be a son, either." [ [http://www.achievement.org/autodoc/page/alb1int-1 Edward Albee Interview, Academy of Achievement, June 2, 2005 ] ] More recently, he told interviewer Charlie Rose that he was "thrown out" because his parents wanted him to become a "corporate thug", and didn't approve of his aspirations to become a writer. [Albee interview on "The Charlie Rose Show," May 27, 2008]

The less than diligent student later dedicated much of his time to promoting American university theatre, frequently speaking at campuses and serving as a distinguished professor at the University of Houston from 1989 to 2003.

A member of the Dramatists Guild Council, Albee has received three Pulitzer Prizes for drama — for "A Delicate Balance" (1967), "Seascape" (1975), "Three Tall Women" (1994); a Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement (2005); the Gold Medal in Drama from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters (1980); as well as the Kennedy Center Honors and the National Medal of Arts (both in 1996).

Albee is the President of the Edward F. Albee Foundation, Inc., which maintains the William Flanagan Creative Persons Center, a writers and artists colony in Montauk, New York. Albee's longtime partner, Jonathan Thomas, a sculptor, died on May 2, 2005, the result of a two year-long battle with bladder cancer.

In 2008, in celebration of his eightieth birthday, numerous Albee plays are being mounted in distinguished Off Broadway venues, including the historic Cherry Lane Theatre, where the playwright himself is directing two of his one-acts, "The American Dream" and "The Sandbox," which were produced at the theater in 1961 and 1962, respectively.


*"The Zoo Story" (1958)
*"The Death of Bessie Smith" (1959)
*"The Sandbox" (1959)
*"Fam and Yam" (1959)
*"The American Dream" (1960)
*"Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (1961-62, Tony Award, Grammy Award in 1964 in the Best Documentary, Spoken Word or Drama Recording (Other Than Comedy) category)
*"The Ballad of the Sad Cafe" (1963) (adapted from the novella by Carson McCullers)
*"Tiny Alice" (1964)
*"Malcolm" (1965) (adapted from the novel by James Purdy)
*"A Delicate Balance" (1966) Pulitzer Prize
*"Breakfast at Tiffany's" (1966) (musical, adapted from the novella by Truman Capote)
*"Everything in the Garden" (1967) (adapted from a play by British playwright Giles Cooper)
*"Box" (1968)
*"All Over" (1971)
*"Seascape" (1974) Pulitzer Prize
*"Listening" (1975)
*"Counting the Ways" (1976)
*"The Lady From Dubuque" (1977-79)
*"Lolita" (adapted from the novel by Vladimir Nabokov) (1981)
*"The Man Who Had Three Arms" (1981)
*"Finding the Sun" (1982)
*"Marriage Play" (1986-87)
*"Three Tall Women" (1990-91) Pulitzer Prize
*"The Lorca Play" (1992)
*"Fragments" (1993)
*"The Play About the Baby" (1996)
*"The Goat or Who is Sylvia?" (2000, Tony Award)
*"Occupant" (2001)
*"Knock! Knock! Who's There!?" (2003)
*"At Home at the Zoo" (Act One: Homelife. Act Two: The Zoo Story) (2004)
*"Me, Myself and I" ( (2007)

Non Dramatic Writings

* (Avalon Publishing, 2005)


*"What could be worse than getting to the end of your life and realizing you hadn't lived it?"
*"A usefully lived life is probably going to be, ultimately, more satisfying." [ [http://www.achievement.org/autodoc/page/alb1int-6 Edward Albee Interview - page 6 / 6 - Academy of Achievement ] ]
*"Writing should be useful. If it can't instruct people a little bit more about the responsibilities of consciousness there's no point in doing it."
*"If you're willing to fail interestingly, you tend to succeed interestingly."
*"That's what happens in plays, yes? The shit hits the fan."
*"Creativity is magic. Don't examine it too closely." [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/11/theater/11gree.html?ref=arts Edward Albee - Me, Myself & I - Peter and Jerry - Theater - New York Times ] ]


*"Mark Richman & William Daniels in The Zoo Story by Edward Albee - Directed by Arthur Luce Klein" (LP, Spoken Arts SA 808)


External links

* [http://arts.guardian.co.uk/features/story/0,11710,1119811,00.html Guardian (UK) in-depth profile of Albee from 2004]
* [http://www.theparisreview.org/viewinterview.php/prmMID/4350 Read Albee's interview at The Paris Review]
* [http://www.albeefoundation.org/Welcome.html The William Flanagan Memorial Creative Persons Center]
* [http://www.tonyawards.com/en_US/interactive/video/index.html#a TonyAwards.com Interviews with Edward Albee]
* [http://www.artslynx.org/theatre/albee.htm Notes on a Colloquy with Edward Albee from Artslynx]
* [http://marshad.com/albee-ppv/index.html Performance by Edward Albee, and video interview by Neal Marshad with Edward Albee from LongHouse.org]
* [http://www.cherrylanetheatre.org/edwardalbee.htm Cherry Lane Theatre website]
* [http://www.friarsclub.com/Immortal%20Friars/Immortal%20Friars.htm "The Friars Club"]

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