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Edward Albee: Pulitzer-winning American playwright dies at 88

23 September 2016

Pulitzer-winning USA playwright Edward Albee, author of such masterpieces as "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" died at age 88, The New York Times reported.

He died at his home in Montauk, east of NY, assistant Jackob Holder said.

His provocative and often unforgiving takes on life in the USA earned him a reputation as one of the great American dramatists.

Albee shocked audiences in 1962, when Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? opened on Broadway.

His Broadway debut, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" was an instant hit, winning the Tony Award for best play and spawning a film adaptation directed by Mike Nichols.

Personal assistant Jackob Holder says Albee died Friday at his home in Montauk on Long Island after a short illness, but no cause of death was released.

Playwright Edward Albee, who helped re-invent American theater with his cleverly biting dialogue and seering portayals of the human condition, died September 16, at his Montauk, N.Y. home, his publicist announced.

He added that some critics made erroneous assumptions about his work because he was gay, interpreting the two heterosexual couples portrayed in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? as thinly veiled gay couples.

Edward Albee with Kathleen Turner in Washington in 2011.

His wealthy father was the son of vaudeville theater magnate Edward Franklin Albee II.

Albee's unconventional style won him great acclaim but also led to a almost 20-year drought of critical and commercial recognition before his 1994 play, "Three Tall Women", garnered his third Pulitzer Prize.

The original production, starring Uta Hagen and Arthur Hill, ran for more than a year and won a Tony Award for best play. Kicked out of several secondary schools before receiving a high school diploma, Albee spent one year at Trinity College before being expelled. He left home as a young man and moved to Greenwich Village, holding various jobs to support himself while he worked at his writing. He was 88. Albee once told the Paris Review that he decided at age 6 that he was a writer but chose to write plays after concluding he was not a very good poet or novelist.

The writer, who grew up in Westchester County N.Y, received a Tony for lifetime achievement in 2005.

He was the recipient of a number of awards, including the National Medal of the Arts and the Kennedy Center Honors in 1966.

He spent 30 years with his partner Jonathan Thomas, from 1971 till Thomas's death in 2005.