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Theater Literary Agent William Craver Has Died

Craver's clients included David Henry Hwang and the estate of Jonathan Larson.

Theater literary agent William Craver has died.
(© David Gordon)

Theater literary agent, manager, and producer William Craver, who was honored in 2013 with a Tony Award for Excellence in the Theatre, died on November 8 at the age of 87 in Austin, Texas.

Born in Texarkana, Texas, Craver graduated from Texas High and studied for two years at Texarkana College, before transferring to the University of Texas at Austin, where he entered the Drama Department and received a Bachelor of Arts in Drama. After serving for two years in the US Army in California and Okinawa, Craver returned to UT Austin where he earned a master's degree in directing. After moving to New York City in 1956, Craver spent the next 58 years working on Broadway and off-Broadway.

Craver began his career working for producer Saint Subber on Neil Simon's play Come Blow Your Horn and went on to work as the company manager for the original Broadway productions of Neil Simon's The Odd Couple, Barefoot in the Park, and Plaza Suite, all directed by Mike Nichols. Craver also company-managed the 1967 revival of Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes, which Nichols also directed. As a producer, Craver brought Mark Medoff's play The Wager to off-Broadway's Eastside Playhouse. He also produced the films The Fantastic Seven, Somebody Killed Her Husband, and The Dain Curse.

For 40 years, Craver worked as a literary agent representing playwrights, composers, lyricists, and directors, with three of his clients winning the Pulitzer Prize in Drama (Jonathan Larson for Rent, David Auburn for Proof, and Robert Schenkkan for The Kentucky Cycle). Other theatrical credits include M. Butterfly, Children of a Lesser God, Urinetown, the 1996 revival of Chicago, the 1992 revival of Guys & Dolls, and Passing Strange, among many others.

Craver also co-owned and was a partner in Writers and Artists Agency until Paradigm acquired the firm in 2004, and he served on the boards of the American Theatre Wing, Dramatists Play Service, and the Jonathan Larson Foundation.

Craver is survived by his sister, Jane Craver Kennon; his brother-in-law, Garland Kennon; and many nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the University of Texas, Austin, Drama Department; Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS; the Jonathan Larson Foundation; or the American Theatre Wing.

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