August Wilson, playwright giant, 1945-2005
August Wilson, award winning playwright, died Sunday, October 2, 2005, of liver cancer.
Mr. Wilson, a high school dropout who then devoted himself to education by inhaling knowledge at his local Pittsburgh public library, originally intended on being a poet. But his drive to celebrate the African American experience exploded onto paper in the form of a cycle of ten plays that forever shaped how this country sees the real Black America. The first entry in his cycle, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, was produced on Broadway in 1984. Fences, another in the cycle, won a Pulitzer in 1987, as did The Piano Lesson, in 1990. The last play in this historic body of work, Radio Golf, opened at the Yale Repertory Theater in the spring of 2005, and is the only one in the cycle that has not yet appeared on Broadway.
Mr. Wilson was 60.