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Playwright Percy Granger Dies at 51

Alumnus Wrote Broadway One-Acts, Aided Community Theater


Percy H. Granger '67, a Harvard-educated American playwright who was known for his wit on academia, died on Monday at his home in Manhattan after a cardiac arrest. He was 51.

He had been unable to work since a previous cardiac arrest in 1992.

Granger was the author of "Eminent Domain," "The Compete Works of Studs Edsel," and many other one-act plays.

"I was struck by the qualities of his character, and the smoothness of his writing," said Robert S. Brustein, director of the Loeb Drama Center. "He was destined to be an important playwright."

Granger graduated from Harvard cum laude in 1967 with a degree in English.

Granger's play "Eminent Domain," which centered on a conflict between a professor's work and home life, reached Broadway at the Circle in the Square theater in the early 1980s.

The play originally opened in the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, Conn., and then played at the McCarter Theater Company in Princeton, N.J., before reaching Broadway.

"He had a wonderful gift for language," said Theodore D. Mann, the former artistic director of Circle in the Square. "It's a real loss for theater."

Mann said he was impressed with Granger's willingness to adapt and revise the play, and by "his wry sense of humor."

One of Granger's most famous works was a partly autobiographical play that describes the life of an idealist American law student who flees to Canada to avoid the draft.

In the 25th anniversary report, Granger said he spent a "four-year career as a draft dodger" before he went onto his illustrious career as a playwright and that he still regretted not having a chance to live out more of his community service ideals.

Granger also worked at the 52nd Street Project, a theater program in Manhattan for inner-city youth. Granger served as a director, and helped teach kids how to write plays, according to Willie Reale, artistic director at the project.

"He was extraordinarily gifted as a playwright and a human being," Reale said. "He treated the children he worked with with the respect that we would accord to anyone."

Granger also authored several screenplays, and was a writer for the daytime soap operas "Loving" and "As the World Turns."

Granger is survived by his wife MariElena, and two sons, Andrew and James

Granger is survived by his wife MariElena, and two sons, Andrew and James

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