On the Passing of Edward Albee
|Edward Albee, three time recepient for Pulitzer prize for drama. Photo credit: Academy of Achievement|
On August 12th, 2009, Ruth Ford passed away in the Dakota, where she had lived for many years and where she hosted her legendary salon. Since then I’ve usually written a little piece every year to commemorate the day of her passing, but this year I did not due to some personal circumstances, and I want to make up for that now with a note on the passing of Ruth’s friend Edward Albee.
I never met Mr. Albee myself, but he was our neighbor when Charles and I would stay out at Montauk, and he resided there until the end of his life on September 16th. During the time when Ruth was hosting her salons, Edward Albee was one of the favorite guests among the theatrical and literary luminaries—William Faulkner, Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams, and many others—who would come to enjoy those famous evenings at the Dakota.
One of the famous plays Edward Albee wrote is Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. It is safe to say that Ruth would have attended the opening night of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf on Broadway—starring Uta Hagen and Arthur Hill—and the premier of its movie version starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor as well, because Ruth was always invited to those glamorous events and she always attended if she were in town. It is also a sure bet that the awards that Mr. Albee won for that play—the Tony Award and the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for best play—would have been celebrated and talked about in Ruth’s elegant sitting room.
Ruth definitely lived a charmed life surrounded by other charmed lives, and when she died, she left behind a huge library of plays—including those by Edward Albee—because reading plays was something she loved to do. Ruth enjoyed reading plays whether she intended to act in them or not, and it is well known that William Faulkner wrote his play Requiem for Nun specifically for Ruth.
Edward Albee’s plays are almost constantly in production somewhere, and in that way he’ll live on in this world. Just as Ruth lives on through the movies she made in the 1940s, preserved forever on film and easy to find today. Wherever you are Ruth, I hope you are doing great things. And to you, Mr. Albee, bon voyage, good luck and break a leg!
March 12, 1928 – September 16, 2016
February 18, 1911 – August 12, 2009
copyright © Indra Tamang 2016, all rights reserved.