Partner Farley Granger, Tom Hatcher
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Arthur Laurents (July 14, 1917 – May 5, 2011) was an American playwright, stage director and screenwriter.
After writing scripts for radio shows after college and then training films for the U.S. Army during World War II, Laurents turned to writing for Broadway, producing a body of work that includes West Side Story (1957), Gypsy (1959), and Hallelujah, Baby! (1967), and directing some of his own shows and other Broadway productions.
His early film scripts include Rope (1948) for Alfred Hitchcock, followed by Anastasia (1956), Bonjour Tristesse (1958), The Way We Were (1973), and The Turning Point (1977).
Laurents wrote Original Story By Arthur Laurents: A Memoir of Broadway and Hollywood, published in 2000. In it, he discusses his lengthy career and his many gay affairs and long-term relationships, including those with Farley Granger and Tom Hatcher (August 24, 1929 - October 26, 2006). Hatcher was an aspiring actor whom Gore Vidal suggested Laurents seek out at the Beverly Hills men's clothing store Hatcher was managing at the time. Harcher was cast as "The Boy" in A Clearing in the Woods (1957), and at the time their relationship was already ongoing. Hatcher also played the role of Schuyler Grogan in Laurents' Invitation to a March (1960) before retiring from acting to became a contractor. In 1995 Laurents said: "He is more to me than he ever was, and I'm happier that I ever was." The couple remained together for 52 years until Hatcher's death on October 26, 2006.
In 1957, after discussions with Jerome Robbins and Leonard Bernstein, Laurents got the idea of setting Robbins' update of Romeo and Juliet story against a background of urban gangs. This became West Side Story. Laurents invited Stephen Sondheim to write the lyrics. Laurents and Sondheim became friends and worked together on five more projects over the next 15 years, including Gypsy, based on the life of Gypsy Rose Lee, and again a work by Robbins.
Laurents' greatest success as a director, and his most overt affiliation with a gay project, came with La Cage aux Follies (1983); Harvey Fierstein wrote the libretto and Jerry Herman was the composer/lyricist.
Laurents wrote Mainly on Directing: Gypsy, West Side Story and Other Musicals, published in 2009, in which he discussed musicals he directed and the work of other directors he admired.
His latest memoir was published posthumously in September 2012, titled The Rest of the Story.
Laurents died at the age of 93 at his home in Manhattan on May 5, 2011 of pneumonia complications, as reported by The New York Times. Following a long tradition, Broadway theatre lights were dimmed at 8 p.m. on May 6, 2011, for one minute in his memory. His ashes were buried alongside those of Tom Hatcher in a memorial bench in Quogue, Long Island, New York.
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