Entertainment Weekly

Subscribe

Stay Connected

Subscribe

Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content

Article

Frank Gilroy dead: Playwright and screenwriter was 89

Posted on

Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

Frank D. Gilroy, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, screenwriter, and director, died Saturday of natural causes, his family confirmed. He was 89.

Gilroy wrote the 1964 play The Subject Was Roses, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play. He also adapted the work for a 1968 film version that starred Patricia Neal, Martin Sheen and Jack Albertson.

Born in 1925 and raised in the Bronx, New York, Gilroy served in the Army from 1943–1946 before attending Dartmouth College and then Yale School of Drama. He wrote for several live television shows including Studio One, Omnibus, Playhouse 90, Kraft Theatre, and the U.S. Steel Hour before making his theater debut with the 1962 play Who’ll Save the Plowboy?, which won an Obie Award.

Gilroy’s screenwriting credits also include The Gallant Hours (with James Cagney), The Only Game in Town (with Elizabeth Taylor and Warren Beatty), and Desperate Characters (with Shirley MacLaine, which he also directed).

He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Ruth, and their three sons, all of whom work in Hollywood. Tony Gilroy wrote the first three Bourne films and co-wrote and directed the 2012 installment The Bourne Legacy, while Dan Gilroy wrote and directed the Jake Gyllenhaal film Nightcrawler and co-wrote The Bourne Legacy with his brother. John Gilroy is an editor whose work includes such films as Michael Clayton, Nightcrawler, and The Bourne Legacy.

A memorial service will be scheduled for some time this fall.