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Playwright Horton Foote is Dead

Adam Bernstein

Horton Foote, a Pulitzer Prize-winning American dramatist who wrote "The Young Man From Atlanta" and won an Oscar for his screenplay adaptation of the Harper Lee novel "To Kill a Mockingbird," died today at age 92. The Post will have a full obit tomorrow.

Foote forged a writing career that lasted six decades and encompassed film ("Tender Mercies"), theater ("Dividing the Estate") and most especially TV during the 1950s ("A Trip to Bountiful"). Paddy Chayefsky ("Marty") and Reginald Rose ("12 Angry Men") were among his close colleagues during the heyday of the "human condition" drama on TV.

Foote was never widely celebrated in the way of Arthur Miller or Tennessee Williams, largely because he embraced minimalist, character-driven dramas of small-town life. He was often out of fashion in the theater world, though he experienced moments when his reputation skyrocketed after a particularly terrific production. Such was the case last year with "Dividing the Estate," which starred his daughter Hallie.

Horton Foote said what fascinated him was the study of people "searching for a place to put down roots. People in my plays always seem to be traveling."

By Adam Bernstein  |  March 4, 2009; 7:40 PM ET
Categories:  Adam Bernstein  
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