Tony And Emmy Winner Terrence McNally Dies At 81 From Complications Due To Coronavirus

terrence mcnally special tony award screenshot

The world of entertainment has been brought largely to a standstill due to the coronavirus, and now an Emmy and Tony winner has passed away due to complications from the pandemic. Terrence McNally, known for Master Class and Kiss of the Spider Woman on stage and American Playhouse on television, has died at 81.

Terrence McNally passed away on Tuesday, March 24. McNally's death was confirmed by publicist Matt Polk to, sharing that he died at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Sarasota, Florida. 81 at the time of his death, McNally had already survived lung cancer and was living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He is survived by his husband, Tony-winning Broadway producer Tom Kirdahy.

Born in 1938 in St. Petersburg, Florida, Terrence McNally began his Broadway career back in 1963 with an adaptation of Alexander Dumas' novel The Lady of the Camellias, followed by a number of original plays, with The Ritz in 1975 winning Rita Moreno (who had already won an Oscar for West Side Story) a Tony. His first major award win came in 1990, when he took home the Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Miniseries or a Special for his installment of PBS' American Playhouse.

Terrence McNally won his first Tony in 1993 for Kiss of the Spider Woman (not to be confused with the Spider-Woman of Marvel fame), then followed with Tonys in 1995 and 1996, for Love! Valour! Compassion! and Master Class, respectively. His fourth Tony came just a couple years later, for Ragtime in 1998. He was nominated for three more Tonys, in 2001, 2014, and 2015.

The Broadway career of Terrence McNally earned him individual recognition at the 2019 Tony Awards, when he received a Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in Theatre. Take a look at McNally accepting the award and the appreciation of the crowd for his work and contributions:

Even as the coronavirus pandemic continues to keep the entertainment business on hold, the loss of Terrence McNally has hit the Broadway community hard. His legacy as a writer inspired Lin-Manuel Miranda of Hamilton and In The Heights (which is keeping him busy despite coronavirus delays) took to Twitter to share a touching tribute.

Lin-Manuel Miranda posted this:

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Terrence McNally was one of many figures in the entertainment industry to be diagnosed with the coronavirus. Among those confirmed to have the virus are Hawaii Five-0's Daniel Dae Kim, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson while in Australia, The Bachelor's Colton Underwood (who opened up about his status) and Idris Elba.

Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for the latest in television and movie news as the coronavirus continues to impact the entertainment industry. Our thoughts are with Terrence McNally's friends, family, and loved ones in this difficult time.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).