Pulitzer-Nominated Playwright Arthur Kopit Dies at 83

Arthur Kopit, the playwright who wrote the plays “Indians” and “Wings,” has died. He was 83.

The dramatist died Friday morning, as confirmed by publicist Rick Miramontez.

“Arthur was one of the most uncompromisingly original writers that America ever produced,” Maury Yeston, Kopit’s longtime friend and collaborator, said. Yeston served as composer on a number of Kopit’s works, including the musicals “Phantom” and “Nine.”

Yeston added, “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.”

Over his seven-decade career, Kopit earned numerous Tony Award nominees and was honored several times as a Pulitzer Prize finalist. Born in May 1937, Kopit attended Harvard University. As a student, he produced a number of plays, including “Mamma’s Hung You in the Closet and I’m Feelin’ So Sad,” which hit Broadway under director Jerome Robbins. Kopit became known for his acclaimed roster of works, which include “Oh Dad, Poor Dad,” “Indians,” “Wings,” “End of the World with Symposium to Follow,” “High Society,” “Road to Nirvana,” “Because He Can” and “A Dram of Drummhicit.”

As a member of the Lark Play Development Center, he headed its playwrights’ workshop and mentored countless young playwrights. Also part of the Dramatist Guild of America, Kopit was a tireless advocate for playwrights and theater companies.

Kopit is survived by wife Leslie Garis; children Alex, Ben and Kat; sister Susan and grandchildren Arthur, Beatrix and Clara.

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