NEW YORK – Douglas McGrath, a director, screenwriter, actor and playwright who was nominated for an Academy Award and Tony Award, died Thursday. He was 64.
McGrath died of a heart attack at his office in New York City, according to “Everything’s Fine” producers John Lithgow, Tom Werner and Daryl Roth, The New York Times reported. The one-man, Off-Broadway show in which he was performing opened a few weeks ago, according to the newspaper.
“The company of ‘Everything’s Fine’ was honored to have presented his solo autobiographical show. Everyone who worked with him over the last three months of production was struck by his grace, charm, and droll sense of humor, and sends deepest condolences to his family,” the producers said in a statement.
The show will not continue after playing its last performance on Wednesday, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
In 1996, McGrath adapted the Jane Austen novel, “Emma,” into a movie and also directed the film, which starred Gwyneth Paltrow, the Times reported. Other films included “Nicholas Nickleby”; “Company Man,” co-written and co-directed with Peter Askin; and, as a writer and director, “Infamous” in 2006, which was a biopic about author Truman Capote, Deadline reported.
McGrath earned an Oscar nomination in 1994 for his screenplay of “Bullets Over Broadway,” which he co-wrote with Woody Allen, according to The Hollywood Reporter. He was nominated for a Tony Award as a screenwriter for “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” in 2014, the Times reported. The play ran for more than five years, according to the newspaper.
The producers of “Everything’s Fine” paid tribute to McGrath.
“It is impossible to overstate Doug’s pure likability,” Lithgow told the Times. “In his solo show, he told a long story about his 14th year, and it worked so well because he had retained so much of his sense of boyish discovery.”
“The wonderful response from the audience was cathartic, meaningful and joyful to him,” Roth told the newspaper via email. “He often told me he was in his ‘happy place’ onstage telling his story.”
McGrath was born on Feb. 2, 1958, in Midland, Texas. His father was an independent oil producer and his mother worked at Harper’s Bazaar before her marriage, according to the Times. He graduated from Princeton University in 1980.
“People often ask me what growing up in West Texas was like,” McGrath said in “Everything’s Fine.” “I think this sums it up: It’s very hot, it’s very dusty, and it’s very, very windy. It’s like growing up inside a blow dryer full of dirt.”
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