Mentor in Memorium: Edward Albee (1928-2016)

I met playwright Edward Albee when he was in Los Angeles shortly after Elizabeth Taylor won the Academy Award for best actress in the film version of Albee’s play, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.” He ordered something from the drug store in Beverly Hills where I was working doing deliveries. I got to deliver his order to him while he was staying at the Beverly Hills Hotel. I had his name on the delivery sheet and I recognized him right away when he answered the door himself.

He was very friendly and he asked me if I also delivered stuff to other Hollywood people and named a couple of names. I said I wasn’t allowed to reveal any of the names of our customers. He launched into some caustic and funny comments about “movie people” particularly Jack Warner (the studio head), Richard Burton (who played opposite Elizabeth Taylor and was also nominated for a best actor Academy Award), and Jack Valenti (the head censor in Hollywood). I remember those names in particular because they were all involved with the movie version.

After this meeting, I started reading everything he wrote. The dialogue in his plays was always sparkling, acerbic, and witty. I had never seen a play before I met him, so I owe my play-going life to meeting him in 1967.

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