SARASOTA, Fla. — On Wednesday the theater world along with friends and colleagues in the Bay area mourned the loss of an icon - four-time Tony Award winning American playwright Terrence McNally, who passed away Tuesday due to complications from COVID-19.

  • McNally won Tony Awards for "Love! Valour! Compassion!", "Kiss of the Spider Woman", "Ragtime", "Master Class"
  • McNally, a cancer survivor, was 81
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For McNally, a great story was only good because of its characters.

“Terrence was a good writer because he was a good person,” says playwright and friend Matthew Lopez. “In the middle of the 1990’s Terrance seemed to win a Tony every year.” 

McNally earned Tony, Emmy and Obie awards for works such as “Love! Valor! Compassion!" and “Master Class." 

His recent work included writing the book for the musical “Anastasia.”

But his humble beginnings started in 1938, when he was born in St. Petersburg.

Throughout his career, he was known for writing about every day people. 

“He loved humanity, he loved people,” says Lopez. 

Lopez, a USF graduate, started off as McNally’s apprentice for a show on Broadway. 

“He didn’t need me, but I needed him, and he can see that,” says Lopez. “It’s because of him I wrote my first play and I owe my career to him.” 

A cancer survivor, McNally died due to complications from the coronavirus at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. 

“There is not one person who is not deeply saddened by his passing,” says Lopez. 

McNally was 81 years old, and was survived by his husband, Tom Kirdahy.