Arthur Laurents – an award-winning playwright, screenwriter, and director who penned the books of watershed musicals West Side Story and Gypsy – died on Thursday due to complications from pneumonia. He was 93. (Deadline first broke the news.) Born in Brooklyn, Laurents wrote training films during World War II, and transitioned to playwriting after the war, finding his first success with 1945’s Home of the Brave, a play about anti-semitism in the armed services. His first major hits, though, were the musicals West Side Story (1957) and Gypsy (1959). Laurents directed Broadway revivals for both shows – Gypsy in 1974 and again in 1989 and 2008, and West Side Story in 2009, when he was 91. He won the Tony for Best Direction for the 1983 Broadway musical La Cage aux Folles.
In film, Laurents wrote the Alfred Hitchcock 1948 thriller Rope, which starred his then-lover Farley Granger, as well as the films Anastasia (1956), Bonjour tristesse (1958), The Way We Were (1973) and The Turning Point (1977), the last of which was nominated for Best Picture.
Most recently, Laurents had signed onto a prospective feature film version of Gypsy starring Barbra Streisand. His partner of over 50 years, actor and real estate developer Tom Hatcher, passed away in 2006.