Farewell.... August Wilson

Another legend has passed. The Pulitzer Prize playwright died of liver cancer on Sunday in Seattle. Wilson was diagnosed with cancer in June by his doctors in Seattle. The disease proved too advanced for treatment, according to his hometown paper, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which broke the story of his illness. Wilson's work primarily focused on the African-American experience in the 20th century. His 10 play epic dealing with each decade of the 20th century, was mostly set in his hometown of Pittsburgh. His most famous plays are Fences and the Piano Lesson which both won Pulitzer Prizes; Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and Joe Turner's Come and Gone.

In 2002, while working at the Kennedy Center, I had the pleasure of meeting August Wilson at the premiere of his King Hedley II starring Brian Stokes Mitchell. From the brief conversation we had the one thing I remembered him saying was, "who would have thought all of this for a high school drop out. Don't let anything stand in your way."

In a true testament to his greatness Broadway's Virginia Theater will be renamed the August Wilson Theater later this month.

"I've lived a blessed life. I'm ready," Wilson spoke of his cancer in the Post-Gazette in August.


prodigalsun said...

I was only recently introduced to August Wilsons work within the past couple of years by my boy from texas who works in theater (actually worked at the Kennedy center too, so you might know him) But despite my late discovery, I find him to be inspirational...

He will be missed.

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