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Horton Foote

Performer, Writer
( b. Mar 14, 1916 Wharton, Texas, USA - d. Mar 04, 2009 Hartford, Connecticut, USA ) Male
Relations: Father of Hallie Foote
Horton Foote was a winner of the Pulitzer Prize and two Academy Awards, who chronicled a wistful American odyssey through the 20th century in plays and films mostly set in a small town in Texas and who left a literary legacy as one of the country's foremost storytellers.

Mr. Foote spent two years studying acting at the Pasadena Playhouse in California, then went to New York where he continued his studies with Tamara Daykarhanova, a Russian émigré, and joined Mary Hunter's American Actors Company. After seeing him perform an improvisation inspired by his life in Texas, choreographer Agnes De Mille encouraged Mr. Foote to write. His first play was a one-act called Wharton Dance, about the Friday-night dances in his hometown. He wrote the lead part for himself. The company performed the play in an evening of one-acts. Foote's next playwriting endeavor was Texas Town, stage by the American Actors Company in 1941, with Mr. Foote in the lead.

After World War II, Mr. Foote and his wife Lillian moved to Washington to run the King Smith School along with Vincent Donehue during which time Mr. Foote opened the King Smith theater to all races, the first integrated audiences in the nation's capital.

Mr. Foote returned to New York in 1950, just as television was beginning to command America's attention and producers were recruiting writers to work for it. He went to work for Fred Coe at NBC, and his first assignment was to help write weekly half-hour episodes of "The Gabby Hayes Show." In his spare time he continued to write plays. One, The Chase, in 1952, introduced Kim Stanley to Broadway, although it did not have great critical success.

Mr. Coe shortly signed Mr. Foote to a contract to write nine one-hour dramas for television. Among them was "The Trip to Bountiful" which would have several incarnations over Mr. Foote's life, including a version on Broadway, a revival Off Broadway, a London production and, three decades later, a 1985 movie for which Mr. Foote was nominated for the screenplay. Mr. Foote's other TV work included several teleplays for "Playhouse 90," including adaptations of the Faulkner stories "Old Man" and "Tomorrow." Faulkner was so impressed with the latter that he offered to split the publication royalties with him.

Mr. Foote's work in TV led to his first film projects among them an adaptation of Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird," for which Mr. Foote received his first Academy Award. Mr. Foote had another film success with "Baby, the Rain Must Fall" (1965), a reworking of his play The Traveling Lady starring Steve McQueen.

Subsequent Hollywood ventures such as "The Chase" and "Hurry Sundown" (1967), were less successful and Mr. Foote moved to New Hampshire and even contemplated giving up writing. It was after the death of his parents that Mr. Foote began the nine-play cycle called The Orphans' Home, inspired by his father's family and spanning 1902 to 1928. The first of these plays were staged in New York by Herbert Berghof, who with his wife, Uta Hagen, ran the H-B Theater workshop. This marked the start of the Foote revival.

Mr. Foote returned to writing movies, but this time he pursued an independent route making movies of two plays in the The Orphans' Home cycle, 1918 and On Valentine's Day with his wife as producer and other members of his family working behind the scenes.

The Signature Theater, an Off Off Broadway company devoted its 1994-95 season to Foote's work including The Young Man From Atlanta, which had been written some years earlier but had never been performed. The play won the Pulitzer Prize in 1995.

As the 21st-century dawned, Mr. Foote wrote The Carpetbagger's Children, and enjoyed successful revivals of The Trip to Bountiful, with Lois Smith, and Dividing the Estate, under Michael Wilson's direction.

Source: New York Times obituary 

ProductionsDate of Productions
The Trip to Bountiful
[Play, Revival]
  • Written by Horton Foote
Apr 23, 2013 - Oct 09, 2013
Dividing the Estate
[Play, Comedy, Original]
  • Written by Horton Foote
Nov 20, 2008 - Jan 04, 2009
The Young Man from Atlanta
[Play, Original]
  • Written by Horton Foote
Mar 27, 1997 - Jun 08, 1997
The Traveling Lady
[Play, Original]
  • Written by Horton Foote
Oct 27, 1954 - Nov 20, 1954
The Trip to Bountiful
[Play, Original]
  • Written by Horton Foote
Nov 03, 1953 - Dec 05, 1953
Two's Company
[Musical, Revue, Original]
  • Scenario for "Roundabout" by Horton Foote
Dec 15, 1952 - Mar 08, 1953
The Chase
[Play, Original]
  • Written by Horton Foote
Apr 15, 1952 - May 10, 1952
Six O'Clock Theatre
[Play, One Act, Original]
  • Written by Horton Foote
Apr 11, 1948 - Apr 18, 1948
Only the Heart
[Play, Original]
  • Written by Horton Foote
Apr 04, 1944 - May 13, 1944
The Coggerers/The Red Velvet Goat/Mr. Banks of Birmingham
The Coggerers
[Play, Original]
  • Performer: Horton Foote [Robert Emmet]
The Red Velvet Goat
[Play, Original]
  • Performer: Horton Foote [Lorenzo]
Mr. Banks of Birmingham
[Play, Original]
  • Performer: Horton Foote [Chief Outourou's Brother]
Jan 20, 1939 - Closing date unknown
2009 Tony Award® Best Play
Dividing the Estate [nominee]
Written by Horton Foote
2008 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Play
Horton Foote (for "Dividing the Estate") [nominee]
2006 Drama Desk Award Career Achievement Award
nomineeHorton Foote (for his bountiful body of work that sensitively explores the human condition) [winner]
1997 Tony Award® Best Play
The Young Man from Atlanta [nominee]
Written by Horton Foote
1995 Pulitzer Prize for Drama
nomineeThe Young Man from Atlanta [winner]
Written by Horton Foote
Find out where Horton Foote and are credited together