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Ira Lewis

Performer, Writer
( b. Aug 27, 1933 Newark, New Jersey, USA - d. Apr 04, 2015 Edison, New Jersey, USA ) Male
Ira Lewis was an actor turned playwright whose comedies, often with star-studded casts, skewered the neuroses and pretensions of writers and artists.

Mr. Lewis's greatest success was Chinese Coffee, a one-act play in which a novelist and a photographer, both down and out, argue about the novelist's manuscript. Al Pacino was cast as the writer when the play had its premiere at the Circle in the Square Theater on Broadway in 1992.

Mr. Pacino reprised the role the next year, with Ben Gazzara as the photographer, at the Stamford Center for the Arts in Connecticut. He also directed a film adaptation in 2000, in which he starred with Jerry Orbach. Mr. Lewis wrote the screenplay.

In a statement, Mr. Pacino said of Mr. Lewis, "In Chinese Coffee, he expressed the pathos, the injustice and the humanity of our world in the microcosm of these two bottomed-out artists."

Another Lewis play, Gross Points, is about a movie star who is always proclaiming his preference for the stage; Alec Baldwin starred in a 2001 production at the Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor, N.Y.

Lewis studied acting and made his Broadway debut in Arthur Miller's Incident at Vichy in 1964, directed by Harold Clurman. The next year, Mr. Lewis toured with a production of Long Day's Journey Into Night directed by Clurman.

Mr. Lewis's first produced play was The Sponsor, staged at the Theater at St. Clement's in Manhattan in 1977. A later play, Pearlfield, is based on the last months of Clurman's life.

In 1996 Mr. Lewis appeared with Mr. Pacino, Mr. Baldwin, Kevin Spacey and others in Mr. Pacino's directorial debut, "Looking for Richard," a documentary film about Shakespeare's Richard III.

Source: The New York Times obituary 


ProductionsDate of Productions
Chinese Coffee
[Play, Revival]
  • Written by Ira Lewis
Jun 24, 1992 - Aug 01, 1992
The Creation of the World and Other Business
[Play, Original]
  • Standby: Ira Lewis [Chemuel, Raphael, Azrael, Cain]
Nov 30, 1972 - Dec 16, 1972
Incident at Vichy
[Play, Drama, Original]
  • Performer: Ira Lewis [Boy]
Dec 03, 1964 - May 07, 1965
Find out where Ira Lewis and are credited together