American Playwright Romulus Linney has Died at 80…

Romulus Zacharias Linney IV, North Carolina born great grandson of a Congressman and father of Actress Laura Linney, may not have achieved the popularity of some of his contemporaries, but in the legitimate theater world he was considered a great intellectual and historically oriented writer. The Signature Theater Company in New York, which devotes full seasons to presenting the work of a single playwright, chose Mr. Linney to be the first writer it gave this honor to in 1991.

From the NY Times Obit:

Mr. Linney wrote plays about August Strindberg, Oscar Wilde, Delmore Schwartz and the poet Anna Akhmatova. He wrote about the Nuremberg trials and the Vietnam War. His sole foray onto Broadway, “The Love Suicide at Schofield Barracks,” concerned a bizarre crime committed in the name of opposition to the war policy of President Richard M. Nixon; it fared poorly, closing after five performances in 1972.

And he wrote about the rural South in plays like “Heathen Valley,” about a 19th-century Episcopal bishop bringing the word of God to a remote region of North Carolina, which he adapted from one of his own three novels; “Holy Ghosts,” set among a sect of snake handlers; and “Love Drunk,” which was among his last works, about a 60-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman engaged in a creepy mutual seduction in a remote cabin.

There are few regional theaters in the country that have not done one or two of Linney’s numerous plays.

About btchakir

Retired Theatre Producer, Graphic Designer, Usability Tester and General Troubleshooter with a keen interest in Politics and The Stage. Currently heard on WSHC, 89.7 FM (on line at and occasionally dabbling in Community Theatre.

Posted on January 16, 2011, in Art, Arts, creativity, event, News, Obits, Opinion, Press, quote, Theatre and Art, Word from Bill and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Oh how sad! I met him a few times; he came to our theatre for a workshop and audience talk-back. It was in ’08 and we did a play-reading of Clair de Lune.

    At the time, he was an ‘artist in residence’ nearby.

    Lovely, modest man.

    • We have lost so many important Theatre people in the past year…I consider Linney a major loss (especially coming right after Ellen Stewart).

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