Albert Ramsdell Gurney

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Albert Ramsdell Gurney Jr. (born November 1, 1930 in Buffalo , New York - † June 13, 2017 in New York City , New York) was an American playwright and author , also known under the name Pete Gurney .


AR Gurney Jr. was born in 1930, the middle of three children to his parents. After attending St. Paul's School (New Hampshire) in Concord (New Hampshire) and studying at William College with a Bachelor of Arts degree , Gurney joined the US Navy in 1952 and took part in the Korean War. There he wrote scenes for shows for the entertainment of the soldiers.

Upon his return in 1955, he enrolled at the Yale School of Drama . There he met Mary Foreman Goodyear, whom he married in 1957 and with whom he had two daughters and two sons. He finished his studies in 1958 as a Master of Fine Arts and in 1959 moved to Belmont , Massachusetts to teach English and Latin at a school for boys. In 1960 he went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to teach in the humanities faculty . In 1977 his father died and in 1981 Gurney stopped teaching at MIT, but remained on the faculty until 1996.

Gurney had already started writing at Yale. In 1958 he wrote Love in Buffalo , the first musical ever written at Yale . Shortly afterwards he processed the story of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer as a musical. In 1968 he published his first play, The David Show . Gurney's breakthrough came with The Dining Room , which premiered in New York City in 1982 . He had great success in 1989 with his two pieces The Cocktail Hour and Love Letters , which have since been staged on many international stages.

Gurney's mother died in 2001. He has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 2006 and of the American Philosophical Society since 2009 . Gurney lived near Boston in Roxbury , Connecticut and in New York City.

Works (selection)

Stage plays

  • What I Did Last Summer
  • The Cocktail Hour
  • The Perfect Party
  • Another Antigone
  • Sweet Sue
  • Love Letters , premiered in 1988 by the Long Wharf Theater in New Haven , Connecticut
  • Sylvia
  • The Snow Ball (based on his novel)
  • A Cheever Evening (based on stories by John Cheever )
  • Later Life
  • Richard Cory
  • Ancestral Voices
  • Buffalo Gal
  • Far East
  • Screen play
  • Indian Blood
  • Crazy Mary
  • The Golden Age


  • The Snow Ball
  • The Gospel According to Joe
  • Entertaining Strangers

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Colin Dabkowski: AR Gurney, Buffalo's playwright laureate, dies at 86. In: The Buffalo News, June 14, 2017, accessed June 14, 2017 .
  2. ^ A b c d Marion S. Goodyear, Active In Charities. In: The Buffalo News, July 29, 2001, archived from the original on May 16, 2016 ; accessed on June 14, 2017 (English).
  3. a b A. R. Gurney Papers (YCAL MSS 728). In: Yale School of Drama , accessed June 14, 2017.
  4. ^ Lindsay Champion: Signed, Sealed, Delivered: The Story of AR Gurney's Love Letters, From the Library to the Great White Way. In: September 17, 2014, accessed June 14, 2017.
  5. ^ Member History: AR Gurney. American Philosophical Society, accessed September 17, 2018 .