Frank D. Gilroy, playwright & screenwriter, died at 89

  Dead Famous

Frank Daniel Gilroy, born on October 13, 1925 and died September 12, 2015, he was an American playwright, screenwriter, and film producer and director.

Frank received the Tony Award for Best Play and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play The Subject Was Roses in 1965.

Gilroy wrote in the Golden Age of Television for such shows as Playhouse 90, Westinghouse Studio One, The United States Steel Hour, Omnibus, Kraft Television Theatre, and Lux Video Theatre.

His entrance to theatre was marked with his 1962 play Who’ll Save the Plowboy? at the Phoenix Theatre in New York, which won the Obie Award.

The play follows Albert Cobb, a man who once dreamed of owning a farm, becoming a plowboy.

Frank and his wife Helen are awaiting to be reunited fifteen years after World War II, along with Larry Doyle, the man who saved his life.

The title comes from when they were in the war, and Albert was staked as bait by the Germans, and Larry kept shouting “Who’ll Save the Plowboy?” until he finally crept out and saved him.

The Subject Was Roses was presented on May 25, 1964. The two-act play has been compared to Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night.

Walter Kerr said of the show: “a family triangle in which a father loves a son and the mother loves that son and the son loves both mother and father and not one of them can make a move or utter a sound that does not instantly damage the other.”

That Summer, That Fall (1967) is a version of the Hippolytus-Phaedra story.

The play is set in an Italian neighborhood in Lower Manhattan in an apartment complex.

Frank works include screenplays for the films Desperate Characters (starring Shirley MacLaine) and The Gallant Hours (starring James Cagney).

He has also adapted his own plays for film, including The Subject Was Roses (starring Patricia Neal, Martin Sheen and Jack Albertson) and The Only Game in Town (starring Elizabeth Taylor and Warren Beatty).

His 1985 screenplay for The Gig (starring Cleavon Little and Wayne Rogers) has been adapted as a musical, with book, music, and lyrics by Douglas J. Cohen.

A 2006 Off-Broadway presentation and recording by the York Theatre Company starred Karen Ziemba, Stephen Berger, Michele Pawk, and Michael McCormick.

Frank has also written fiction, including the novel From Noon Till Three, which was adapted into a film starring Charles Bronson.

In addition to writing the screenplay, Frank also directed the film. Gilroy also contributed to several TV westerns in the late 1950s, including Have Gun – Will Travel, The Rifleman, and Wanted: Dead or Alive.

His later credits include Nero Wolfe, a 1977 adaptation of Rex Stout’s novel The Doorbell Rang as a television movie featuring Thayer David.