This weekend, just after Edward Albee's death at 88, the Montauk Library displayed books of his prodigious work in theater: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Zoo Story, Three Tall Women, Seascape, A Delicate Balance, volumes of the collected plays, to name just a few. A longtime resident of Long Island's East End, Albee had a house on Montauk's old highway, and a foundation for artists in residence called the Art Barn. When he was in town, Albee collected the mail at the post office, and delivered it to his artists. A champion of many arts institutions, he attended charity dinners and contributed to local causes. Among the greatest of our American playwrights, a list that includes Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller, Edward Albee was a link to a bygone Broadway theater world, beyond the purview of our current mall of Disney characters and tourist trade.
His friendship with luminaries like composer Ned Rorem, now 92, went back decades. Albee dedicated his 1960 The Death of Bessie Smith to Rorem. Once, when I asked Albee about his three Pulitzer Prizes, he replied modestly. "I never understood when I got them, and never understood when I didn't." RIP.
A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.