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Arthur Kopit, an award-winning playwright known for Indians and Nine, died on Friday morning. He was 83.
Without specifying a cause, his death was announced by spokesperson Rick Miramontez on Saturday.
Born in 1937, Kopit was educated at Harvard University. Among his early plays was Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma’s Hung You in the Closet and I’m Feelin’ So Sad, which Jerome Robbins directed on Broadway while Kopit was still an undergraduate student.
Kopit went on to receive Tony nomination and Pulitzer Prize finalist nod for his 1968 play Indians, which opened on Broadway and starred Sam Waterston and Stacy Keach. The play was adapted into a film by Robert Altman in 1976, titled Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull’s History Lesson. It starred Paul Newman and Harvey Keitel.
Kopit’s 1982 musical Nine became a film by director Rob Marshall, which starred Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Nicole Kidman, Judi Dench, Penelope Cruz and Kate Hudson.
His additional credits include Wings, High Society, Road to Nirvana and Phantom, the latter being a musical version of Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera.
Among his most recent projects was Discovery of America, a play based on the journals of the Spanish conquistador, Cabeza de Vaca. He was also working on two new plays, Secrets of the Rich and The Incurables.
“Arthur was one of the most uncompromisingly original writers that America ever produced,” said his longtime friend and collaborator Maury Yeston. “A genuine born playwright, his work possesses the kind of universality that is understood by the entire human race, across all cultures and languages. The worlds he created come to life inside the minds of every audience member who has the good fortune of attending one of his shows. But his greatest trait – even beyond his enviable brilliance – was a generosity that knew no bounds.”
Kopit is survived by his wife, Leslie Garis; his children Alex, Ben, Kat; his grandchildren Arthur, Beatrix, and Clara; and his sister, Susan.
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