You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Playwright Wilson dies

Scribe succumbs to liver cancer at 60

Pulitzer- and Tony-winning playwright August Wilson, whose epic 10-play cycle chronicled the black experience in 20th-century America, died Sunday of liver cancer at Swedish Hospital in Seattle. He was 60.

The playwright disclosed in late August that his illness was inoperable and he had only a few months to live at most.

Scribe’s decade-by-decade chronicle of African-American life in the 20th century earned him a rep as a literary giant of American theater. Among the 10 plays were “Fences,” which ran on Broadway in 1987 and won the Pulitzer and Tony, and three years later “The Piano Lesson” earned him his second Pulitzer.

In May, Wilson completed the Pittsburgh cycle with the premiere of “Radio Golf” at Yale Rep. The play went on to the Mark Taper Forum this summer, and another production is skedded at Baltimore’s CenterStage in March.

Most of the plays in the Pittsburgh cycle take place in the Hill District, the slum community where Wilson was born in 1945. He dropped out of high school in 1960, outraged by a teacher’s accusation of plagiarism, and educated himself at his local library. Later, he was awarded the only high school diploma issued by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

Gotham’s Signature Theater, which devotes an entire season to a single playwright, has skedded a Wilson tribute for 2006-7, including a series of readings of all 10 plays of Wilson’s Pittsburgh cycle in chronological order. Later this month, Broadway theater the Virginia will be renamed for him.

He is survived by wife Constanza Romero, a costume designer, and two daughters, Azula Carmen and, from a previous marriage, Sakina Ansari.

(The Associated Press and Frank Rizzo contributed to this report.)

More Scene

  • Brandon Flynn, Timothy Granaderos, Alisha Boe,

    Alisha Boe Says Brock Turner Case Was Her 'Bible' for '13 Reasons Why' Season 2

    Pulitzer- and Tony-winning playwright August Wilson, whose epic 10-play cycle chronicled the black experience in 20th-century America, died Sunday of liver cancer at Swedish Hospital in Seattle. He was 60. The playwright disclosed in late August that his illness was inoperable and he had only a few months to live at most. Scribe’s decade-by-decade chronicle […]

  • Yara ShahidiMTV Movie & TV Awards,

    Yara Shahidi, Noah Schnapp, More Talk the Dangers of Social Media at MTV Awards

    Pulitzer- and Tony-winning playwright August Wilson, whose epic 10-play cycle chronicled the black experience in 20th-century America, died Sunday of liver cancer at Swedish Hospital in Seattle. He was 60. The playwright disclosed in late August that his illness was inoperable and he had only a few months to live at most. Scribe’s decade-by-decade chronicle […]

  • A Night in the Writers' Room

    'Vida,' 'One Day at a Time' Showrunners Recount Being Called Racial Slur in Writers' Room

    Pulitzer- and Tony-winning playwright August Wilson, whose epic 10-play cycle chronicled the black experience in 20th-century America, died Sunday of liver cancer at Swedish Hospital in Seattle. He was 60. The playwright disclosed in late August that his illness was inoperable and he had only a few months to live at most. Scribe’s decade-by-decade chronicle […]

  • A Night in the Writers' Room

    Parity Takes Center Stage at Variety's 'A Night in the Writers' Room' Drama Panel

    Pulitzer- and Tony-winning playwright August Wilson, whose epic 10-play cycle chronicled the black experience in 20th-century America, died Sunday of liver cancer at Swedish Hospital in Seattle. He was 60. The playwright disclosed in late August that his illness was inoperable and he had only a few months to live at most. Scribe’s decade-by-decade chronicle […]

  • American Black Film Festival opening night

    Trevor Jackson Was Originally Told He Was 'Too Young' to Star in 'Superfly' Remake

    Pulitzer- and Tony-winning playwright August Wilson, whose epic 10-play cycle chronicled the black experience in 20th-century America, died Sunday of liver cancer at Swedish Hospital in Seattle. He was 60. The playwright disclosed in late August that his illness was inoperable and he had only a few months to live at most. Scribe’s decade-by-decade chronicle […]

  • Women In Film Crystal and Lucy

    Brie Larson Says She Learned Her Own Strength Playing 'Captain Marvel' Role

    Pulitzer- and Tony-winning playwright August Wilson, whose epic 10-play cycle chronicled the black experience in 20th-century America, died Sunday of liver cancer at Swedish Hospital in Seattle. He was 60. The playwright disclosed in late August that his illness was inoperable and he had only a few months to live at most. Scribe’s decade-by-decade chronicle […]

  • 2018 NBCUniversal Upfront

    Andy Samberg on Returning to NBC With 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine': 'It Feels Like Home'

    Pulitzer- and Tony-winning playwright August Wilson, whose epic 10-play cycle chronicled the black experience in 20th-century America, died Sunday of liver cancer at Swedish Hospital in Seattle. He was 60. The playwright disclosed in late August that his illness was inoperable and he had only a few months to live at most. Scribe’s decade-by-decade chronicle […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content