Winner of Pulitzer Prize for play
The Writers Institute will present Horton Foote's one act play, "Blind Date" (1981), in an "Authors Theatre" presentation directed by Langdon Brown. The staged reading is designed to bring out the literary aspect of a play, followed by commentary by the playwright and the actors. Set in a small Texas town in 1929, "Blind Date" explores what can happen when adults attempt to play the "matching game" with members of the younger generation. A review of the play's premiere at the Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York City said
"Foote writes with intelligence, sensitivity, humor, and compassion. . . 'Blind Date,' understatedly funny and uninsistently touching, is full of lived humanity." — "New York Magazine"
“Besides being very funny, 'Blind Date' has a bit to say about how oppressive sexual roles can be passed down from generation to generation ... Few dramatists today can replicate this kind of storytelling with the gentle mastery that Mr. Foote provides…both sentimental and ruthless, toting up the losses in one generation’s life with warm compassion and a cold awareness that to live is ultimately to lose.” — NY Times
NYS Writers Institute, May 2, 2006
Foote was born in 1916 in the small Gulf town of Wharton, Texas, where his father was a merchant and cotton farmer and his mother was an amateur pianist. He began his theatrical career in his youth by joining an acting program, and later acted with a summer stock company on Martha's Vineyard. He eventually moved to New York, where he was one of the founding members of the American Actors Company. Much of his writing is inspired by his Texas upbringing.
Foote's early career in writing for the stage led him into writing television drama. He wrote plays for Playhouse 90, Philco Playhouse and U.S. Steel Hour. The next step in his career lead to Hollywood where he wrote an adaptation of Harper Lee's novel To Kill a Mockingbird, that provided an acting opportunity for Robert Duvall. Twenty years later, Mr. Foote wrote the screenplay Tender Mercies especially for Duvall, which brought Academy Awards to both Duvall and Foote. In 1985, Mr. Foote's play A Trip to Bountiful (nominated for an Academy Award and has been produced for stage and television) won an Academy Award for Geraldine Page.
Foote received the Pulitzer Prize for his 1995 stage play, "The Young Man from Atlanta," the story of an older couple attempting to cope with a son's death and the possibility of his homosexuality. Other plays include "The Last of the Thorntons" (2000), the nine-play "Orphans' Home Cycle" (written throughout the 1970s), "The Chase" (1956), and "The Trip to Bountiful" (1953; film 1985). Foote has twice received the Academy Award for Best Screenplay, for the film adaptation of Harper Lee's novel, "To Kill A Mockingbird" (1962), and for the original screenplay, "Tender Mercies" (1983).
He is also the author of two autobiographies, "Beginnings" (2001) and "Farewell: A Memoir of a Texas Childhood" (1999).
"If theater and film disappeared, [Foote] would still be honored just for telling his life stories."
Foote is the recipient the National Medal of Arts (2000), the Master American Dramatist Award from the Pen American Center (2000), the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Writers Guild of America (1999), the American Academy of Arts and Letters Gold Medal for Drama (1998), and the William Inge Award for Lifetime Achievement in the American Theater (1989).
Horton Foote visited the NYS Writers Institute on October 19, 2000.
Books by Horton Foote:
For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.