“Choosing to write a play is some kind of surrender. I don't make an outline. I sit and work, and suddenly the door opens, and out it comes.” – David Rabe
Born in Dubuque, Iowa on this date in 1940, Rabe is both a screenwriter and two-time Tony Award winning playwright.
Rabe is perhaps best known for his loose trilogy of plays drawing on his experiences as an Army draftee in Vietnam – starting with the Tony winning Sticks and Bones, then his second Tony winner, The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel, and Streamers. Among his many screenplays are the Oscar nominated Casualties of War (also based on Vietnam) and his adaptation of John Grisham’s The Firm.
Rabe was married to award-winning actress Jill Clayburgh for over 30 years until her death in 2010 and their daughter Lily Rabe also has been nominated for numerous acting awards, particularly for the series American Horror Story.
Over his lifetime Rabe has written dozens of plays and screenplays, and half-a-dozen novels, including the gut-wrenching Girl by the Road at Night: A Novel of Vietnam. In 2014 the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation gave Rabe its Master American Dramatist award for his many outstanding works.
“There's no demand for a body of work,” he said, “though (unfortunately) writers will be criticized for not having produced one.“
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