Writer and Actor Douglas McGrath Dies at 64
Tony- and Academy Award-nominated writer Douglas McGrath died suddenly on Thursday, November 3, at the age of 64. McGrath had been appearing in his solo play Everything's Fine at the DR2 Theatre off-Broadway. He played his final performance on November 2. No details about the cause of death have been released.
As he discussed in Everything's Fine, McGrath was born and raised in Midland, Texas, the son of Beatrice and R. Searle McGrath. After graduating from Princeton University in 1980, he immediately became a writer for Saturday Night Live for one season. Reflecting on that first job in New York Times, McGrath opined, "My year, 1980, was viewed then and still as the worst year in the show's history, which is no small achievement when you think of some of the other years."
That early failure didn't discourage McGrath, who went on write and direct the films Emma, Nicholas Nickleby, Company Man (co-written and co-directed with Peter Askin), and Infamous. His screenplay for Bullets Over Broadway (co-written with Woody Allen) earned him a 1995 Oscar nomination.
For the theater, McGrath wrote Political Animal, Checkers, The Age of Innocence, and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, for which he was nominated for the Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards.
As an actor, he appeared in the Oscar-nominated Quiz Show, The Insider and Michael Clayton, and seven films by Woody Allen: Celebrity, Sweet and Lowdown, Small Time Crooks, Hollywood Ending, Café Society, Crisis in Six Scenes, and Rifkin's Festival.
His final performance was on the stage, which he was returning to as an actor for the first time in 25 years (having appeared in Political Animal, which coincidentally closed on November 3, 1996). McGrath teamed up with director John Lithgow for Everything's Fine, which recalled a formative experience from his adolescence through McGrath's gentle wit and charm. TheaterMania's review of Everything's Fine called it "a master class in good storytelling."
McGrath is survived by his wife, Jane Read Martin, and son, Henry McGrath.