Trio get O’Neill kudos

Pacino, Gelbs honored with Monte Cristo

Al Pacino and Eugene O’Neill biographers Arthur and Barbara Gelb are the 2005 recipients of the Monte Cristo Award, given annually by the O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford, Conn.

The Oscar-winning actor directed and starred in a production of O’Neill’s “Hughie” on Broadway in 1996. The Gelb bio “O’Neill: Life With Monte Cristo” was originally published in 1962, nine years after the playwright’s death, but has been substantially revised in recent editions.

The awards will be presented in a ceremony in the spring, at a time when Pacino can attend.

In addition to penning “O’Neill,” the Gelbs collaborated with filmmaker Ric Burns on a new pic about the playwright, slated to air in March on PBS. Pacino also appears in the documentary.

The Monte Cristo Award is presented to an artist or artists whose work exemplifies the standard of excellence and pioneering spirit of O’Neill. Past recipients include Edward Albee, Zoe Caldwell, Brian Dennehy, Karl Malden, Jason Robards Jr. and August Wilson.

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