West Side Story Playwright Dead at 93

Arthur Laurents enjoyed success as playwright, director, screenwriter
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 6, 2011 2:30 AM CDT
Composer Richard Rodgers, left, lyricist Stephen Sondheim, right, and playwright Arthur Laurents are shown in 1964 as they begin work on the musical "Do I Hear a Waltz?"   (AP Photo/File)
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(Newser) – Arthur Laurents, writer of landmark Broadway musicals including West Side Story and Gypsy, has died at his Manhattan home at the age of 93. Laurents' career as a playwright spanned seven decades. He also enjoyed success as a director and as screenwriter of movie classics including Rope and The Way We Were, AP reports. The Brooklyn-born Laurents served as a writer of military training films and radio scripts during World War II. His first Broadway play, 1945's Home of the Brave, dealt with anti-Semitism in the military.

The famously blunt writer once told the New York Times that he was happiest alone, putting his daydreams on paper. "I say mean things as a defense," he told the Los Angeles Times in a 1984 interview during the smash success of La Cage Aux Folles, which he directed. "People who get their feelings hurt don't realize I have a very developed set of defenses. But also I will not suffer fools and amateurs." Laurents' partner of 52 years, actor-turned-real estate developer Tom Hatcher, died in 2006.

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