Horton Foote, the celebrated writer for stage and screen, died Wednesday afternoon at his daughter’s home in Hartford, Connecticut. Though Foote maintained homes in California and Texas, he had been living with his daughter while adapting his nine-play Orphans’ Home Cycle into a three-part production to be staged next fall.
According to The New York Times’ Art Beat blog, Broadway will honor Foote this evening:
The marquees of Broadway theaters will be dimmed on Thursday for one minute at 8:00pm in tribute to Horton Foote, who died on Wednesday. Mr. Foote’s most recent Broadway play was “Dividing the Estate,” the dysfunctional family portrait that ran at the Booth Theater from Nov. 20 through Jan 4.
The Theater section of the Times offered up an affectionate appraisal of Foote’s life by Ben Brantley, the paper’s chief theater critic:
Throughout his seven decades as a writer — during which he received two Academy Awards for screenplays (for “Tender Mercies” and his adaptation of Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”) and a Pulitzer Prize (for his 1995 drama “The Young Man From Atlanta”) — Mr. Foote was treated with condescension by some critics, who saw him as a sweet little miniaturist, a comforting chronicler of small lives. Such assessments are absurdly off base, but they are indicative of the paradoxical (and, I would argue, singular) nature of Mr. Foote’s work.
In Foote’s Times obituary, Wilborn Hampton pulled a great quote from Foote:
“I don’t think I’ll ever stop writing,” he said in a 1999 interview. “I write almost every day. I’d write plays even if they were never done again. You’re at the mercy of whatever talent you have.”