The August Wilson Theatre was filled today as friends, fans and colleagues of Edward Albee, said a tearful good-bye. Albee passed away September 16th at the age of 88. Maureen Anderman, Jane Alexander and Jordan Baker; playwrights, Arthur Kopit, Will Eno and John Guare; Bill Irwin, Bill Pullman; playwright and director Emily Mann; and director David Esbjornson all gave moving tributes.
Actors long associated with Albee’s work read significant portions from his plays. Brian Murray from The Play About the Baby and Richard Thomas and Jane Alexander from The Lady from Dubuque. Rosemary Harris read a poem that Albee, a passionate animal lover, wrote from the point of view of his late Irish wolfhound, Samantha.
Zoo Story launched actor Brian Murray career, recalled meeting him at a party hosted by Noël Coward, who spent time stroking Albee’s hair stating, “Edward dear, you’re a very brilliant young playwright. But that haircut is very silly.”
Guare said Albee “has been at the moral center of my life.”
“He died listening to the ocean, his favorite sound,” longtime friend and playwright Terrence McNally, stated.
Ruehl, who co-starred with Pullman in Albee’s 2002 drama The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?, called Albee “tough.” “Edward had the capacity to endure the…void of pure loneliness,” she added.
Albee wrote more than 30 plays, including The Zoo Story; The Death of Bessie Smith; The Sandbox; Fam and Yam; The American Dream; Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Tony Award); The Ballad of the Sad Café; Tiny Alice; A Delicate Balance (Pulitzer Prize); Box and Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung; All Over; Seascape (Pulitzer Prize); Listening; Counting the Ways; The Man Who Had Three Arms; Finding the Sun; Marriage Play; Three Tall Women (Pulitzer Prize); Fragments; The Play About the Baby; The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? (Tony); Occupant; At Home at the Zoo (Homelife/ The Zoo Story); and Me, Myself and I. He was a member of the Dramatist Guild Council and president of the Edward F. Albee Foundation. Mr. Albee was awarded the Gold Medal in Drama from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1980 and in 1996 received the Kennedy Center Honors and the National Medal of Arts. In 2005 he was awarded a special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement.