Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The brilliance of Horton Foote

Today's Austin Chronicle contains a great article about Wharton, Texas' own Horton Foote. Probably best known for his screenplay for To Kill a Mockingbird, he wrote some of the finest plays ever read or seen. Foote passed away last March, just missing his 93rd birthday by ten days. He was one of the preeminent dramatists of the twentieth-century and enjoyed a highly productive and critically acclaimed career that stretched over seven decades. His trophy case was full and includes Academy Awards in 1962 and 1983, the Pulitzer Prize in 1995, an Emmy in 1997, and the National Medal of Arts in 2000.

Larry McMurtry contends that any writer produces his best stuff in middle age and then sadly watches his talent atrophy. McMurtry claims no writer, himself included, is capable of escaping this sad fate. Foote did. His initial work was good, yet the more he wrote, the better he got. His last work, The Orhpans' Home Cycle, was completed just before he passed and has been hailed as a masterpiece.

The Austin Public Library owns numerous works either written by Horton Foote or ones in which he contributed screenplays.

To Kill a Mockingbird

Tender Mercies

The Carpetbagger’s Children & The Actor (two plays)

The Young Man from Atlanta

4 New Plays

Selected One-Act Plays of Horton Foote

Farewell: a Memoir of a Texas Childhood

Beginnings: a Memoir

Horton Foote: a Literary Biography

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