Openly gay author of  Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Edward Albee has died at the age of 88.

The three-time Pulitzer Prize winner who introduced a new era of American drama with such plays as Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Zoo Story, Three Tall Women and A Delicate Balance, was widely regarded as the greatest playwright of his generation.

His personal assistant Jakob Holder, executive director of the Edward F. Albee Foundation, said the playwright died Friday at his home on Long Island after a short illness.

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? won him a Tony award in 1962 and was later adapted for a 1966 film featuring memorably fiery performances by then husband-and-wife team Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.

His mastery of language, acerbic dialogue, and his ability to mix realism and farce in his plays made Albee a legendary figure in the theatre world.

Albee was openly gay at a time when being gay was still illegal. The playwright said he wanted to be remebered not as a gay playwright, but as a playwright who happened to be gay.

His long term partner, sculptor Jonathan Thomas passed away in 2005.

In early tributes, playwright Harvey Fierstein said Albee had “redefined what our theatre could talk about & how.”

Actress Mia Farrow said: “Edward Albee was one of the great playwrights of our time.”

Edward Albee

 

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