Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Frank D Gilroy dies
By Martin Chilton
Frank D Gilroy, whose play The Subject Was Roses won a Pulitzer Prize, has died of natural causes aged 89.
Bronx-born Gilroy, who had served in the Army, wrote about a veteran's troubled return home after the Second World War. The 1964 play also won a Tony Award and Gilroy wrote the screenplay for the Oscar-nominated 1968 film adaptation starring Jack Albertson and Patricia Neal.
Gilroy, who died in New York, wrote more than 30 other plays but The Subject Was Roses was his only major theatrical success. When the play was revived off Broadway in 1991, with John Mahoney, Gilroy said: "I’d like to walk into a room sometime and be introduced as the author of something other than that play. There’s always one thing in a career that has more impact than anything else. In my case, The Subject Was Roses was that thing.”
In fact, Gilroy, who attended Yale Drama School, had a distinguished career as a versatile writer of television shows and films. He wrote TV westerns including The Rifleman” and Have Gun Will Travel, and created the homicide detective Amos Burke (played by Gene Barry) for the series Burke’s Law.
Gilroy wrote the 1956 film The Fastest Gun Alive, which starred Glenn Ford, and 1970’s The Only Game in Town, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Warren Beatty and Desperate Characters starring Shirley MacLaine. He also wrote and directed From Noon Till Three in 1976, a comedy western starring Charles Bronson.
He was also known in the jazzworld for his 1985 film The Gig, which he wrote and directed. The Gig is a highly-regarded independent movie about a group of five amateur jazz musicians who accept a gig in the Catskills. Trumpeter and cornet player Warren Vaché stars as himself in the film.
Gilroy's three sons all work in the film industry. Tony Gilroy wrote the first three Bourne films and Dan Gilroy wrote the film noir Nightcrawler, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, with John Gilroy working as the film's editor.
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