Robert Patrick Dies: ‘Kennedy’s Children’ Playwright And Off Off Broadway Pioneer Was 85

Robert Patricka leading playwright in the off broadway movement that later won widespread acclaim for the 1975 Broadway staging of his play kennedy’s childrenHe died in his sleep at his home in Los Angeles on Sunday, April 23. He was 85 years old.

His passing was announced by his longtime friend and collaborator Jason Zane.

Broadway production of kennedy’s children Shirley Knight won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Leading Role, beating out a competitive roster including Meryl Streep, Mary Beth Hurt and Lois Nettleton.

The play, which centered on a group of former 1960s workers reuniting and reminiscing in a Lower East Side bar, was adapted by Patrick for a 1982 TV movie starring Knight, Jane Alexander, Lindsay Crouse and Brad Dourif.

Robert Patrick O’Connor was born to migrant workers in Kilgore, Texas, and later briefly joined the Air Force after he discovered a poem he had written to a fellow soldier. On a trip to New York City in 1961, according to Jane, Patrick followed an attractive young man into the now-famous Cafe Sino Theater, “and found himself in the middle of a rehearsal of a play.”

“He immediately found his ‘family of friends’ and decided to remain there as an ardent devotee of that first Off-Broadway venue,” says Jane, “to support himself and be involved in all aspects of the theatrical production.” Taking various odd jobs. ,

Inspired by roommate Lanford Wilson to write a play, Patrick wrote the haunted host in 1964, in what is now considered one of the earliest modern gay plays of the early Off-Broadway era. With over 300 productions of his plays in New York in the 1960s, Patrick became one of the scene’s most prolific writers.

Patrick also worked at La Mama Experimental Theater Club, one of the Off Broadway theatres. In 1969, his play camera Obscura was produced on PBS, starred Marge Champion, and was selected in the Playwrights Review. collision course. Publishing company Samuel French declared him “New York’s most produced playwright” in 1972.

After moving to Los Angeles in the early 1990s, Patrick mostly retired from theater but still continued to write and stage several plays. He performed his first single in 2013 and later created a website With thousands of photographs from hundreds of productions in New York and around the world.

He is survived by sister Angela (aka Bunny) and many friends.