What You Don't Know About Arthur Laurents

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Tony-winning playwright-screenwriter Arthur Laurents died Thursday in New York City from pneumonia complications. Here are a few facts you may not know about him:

1. The legendary scribe wrote the books for West Side Story and Gypsy and the scripts for The Way We Were and Turning Point.

2. He won Tony Awards as author of the book for best musical Hallelujah, Baby! in 1968 and best director (musical) for La Cage aux Folles in 1984.. He earned best picture and original screenplay Oscar nominations and a WGA Award for Turning Point.

3. He was best known in Hollywood for his acclaimed scripts for The Way We Were (1973), which featured the romantic chemistry of its characters as played by Robert Redford and Barbra Streisand, and Turning Point (1977) — which he also produced — the story of a lifelong friendship between two women played by Shirley MacLaine and Anne Bancroft. He earned best picture and original screenplay Oscar nominations and a WGA Award for Turning Point.

4. Laurents was born July 14, 1918, in Brooklyn. He studied at Cornell and received his B.A. in English in 1937. During college, he performed in a satirical nightclub revue and wrote radio plays for series including The Thin Man.

5. He enlisted in the Army in 1941 and worked on military training films, as well as writing radio scripts for such service programs as The Man Behind the Gun and Assignment Home. He distinguished himself during World War II, winning a Variety radio award in 1945 for his script The Face, a drama about a maimed veteran’s rehab.

6. Actor Farley Granger revealed in his 2007 memoir Include Me Out: My Life From Goldwyn to Broadway that he was bisexual and had an affair with Laurents. Granger died March 30. Laurents was predeceased by his partner of more than 50 years, Tom Hatcher.

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