Douglas McGrath in 2016. Photograph: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images
The 64-year-old writer-director Douglas McGrath was nominated for an Oscar and a Tony
Douglas McGrath, a writer, director, and actor, passed away at the age of 64.
The autobiographical off-Broadway play Everything’s Fine, which the Tony and Oscar candidate also wrote, had just featured him as its lead. Producers of the program Daryl Roth, Tom Werner, and John Lithgow, who was also in charge of directing, revealed his passing on November 3rd.
“The company of Everything’s Fine was honored to have presented his solo autobiographical show,” the statement reads. “Everyone who worked with him over the last three months of production was struck by his grace, charm and droll sense of humor, and sends deepest condolences to his family.”
On November 2, there was one last performance. The one-man performance on a troubling episode in McGrath’s adolescence has earned favorable reviews. Elisabeth Vincentelli, in a piece for the New York Times, lauded the “can’t-look-away quality of a slow-motion crash,” saying that “you might be appalled but laughing, eager to hear what happened next while also dreading it.” In the wake of his passing, Vincentelli tweeted that it was “a sudden, terrible shock.”
The reason of death has not been given any specifics.
In 1980, McGrath started writing for Saturday Night Live. Later, in 1995, he was nominated for an Oscar for collaborating with Woody Allen to write the script for Bullets Over Broadway. Additionally, he appeared in numerous of Allen’s films as an actor, including Celebrity, Small Time Crooks, and Café Society.
He also served as writer and director for the Gwyneth Paltrow-starring version of Emma from 1996, Charlie Hunnam-starring adaptation of Nicholas Nickleby from 2002, and Toby Jones-starring Truman Capote drama Infamous from 2006.
For penning the book for the Broadway production of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, McGrath got a Tony nomination. McGrath commended King for never asking him “to soften or improve the events of her life” in an article for the Guardian in 2018. Checkers and The Age of Innocence were two of his other plays.
McGrath has appeared in many episodes of HBO’s Girls as Principal Toby Cook, as well as Quiz Show, Todd Solondz’s Happiness, Michael Clayton from 2007 and other films. We had the finest time working with him on Girls, tweeted Jenni Konner, who was also the co-showrunner and one of the writers and directors. What a huge skill. What a great guy. RIP.”
Henry McGrath, his son, and his wife Jane Read Martin are his only heirs.
Thanks to Benjamin Lee at The Guardian whose reporting provided the original basis for this story.