Arthur Laurents Dies At 93

Yes, Arthur Laurents is dead. In February 2000, when his first memoir was published, I interviewed him for the New York Times. (The frustrating Times archive provides no access to the piece.) The conversation took place at Laurents’ lovely townhouse on St. Luke’s Place in Greenwich Village. This grand old man of the theatre — he wrote the book to two of the 10 (maybe 5) greatest musicals ever written: “Gypsy” and “West Side Story” — pulled no punches that day. He spoke his mind about almost all the legends with whom he had been associated. In the middle of our chat, Stephen Sondheim (pictured with Laurents and Richard Rodgers) called. He and Laurents were on again/off again with more regularity than Liz and Dick. I hear that, at the time of Laurents’ death, they were off again, but what does it matter? They are joined forever in the Broadway pantheon. Anyway, Laurents was very civil to me that day in 2000, though I was the recipient of his wrath on a few other occasions. When I wrote something less-than-effusive about his 2007 revival of “Gypsy” he called me up and started yelling. I pulled the phone away from my ear and read some emails while the rant went on. When it was over, he paused and said: “Wanna have lunch?” We did. It was fun. I thought he’d live forever.

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