“I love writing novels, even if only a few thousand people read them. Here's my soul; I hope it appeals to your soul.” – Mark O'Donnell
Writer and humorist O’Donnell was born on this date in Cleveland, OH, in 1954 and despite his love of novels, he was best known for his smash Broadway hit and subsequent hit movie Hairspray, for which he won a Tony Award. He also earned a Tony nomination for his 2008 Broadway show Cry-Baby. He did have two best-selling novels, Getting Over Homer and Let Nothing You Dismay.
An identical twin – his brother was television writer Steve O’Donnell – Mark collapsed and died suddenly in 2012 and no cause has ever been determined.
In the years leading up to his death, he had been teaching regularly at Yale where he had many successful students and offered young writers this advice: “Everybody has parents. As a dramatist, whenever you write a character, you must write their parents as well, even if the parents aren't there.”
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