(July 14, 1917 - May 5, 2011) U.S.A.
Playwright, screenwriter, novelist, and Bradway director
Born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Irving Laurents and Ada (Robbins) Laurents, he graduates from Erasmus Hall High School, then attends Cornell University, where he graduates with a major in English.
Laurents was a Marxist during his college years at Cornell, and remains an unabashed liberal till this day. A man of strong opinions, Laurents lets his politics get in the way of his recollections, and not always for the best.
Not one to drop a grudge, Laurents has never forgiven Robbins or Elia Kazan for being "Friendly Witnesses" before the House Un-American Activities Committee, and giving testimony which ruined many lives. (Laurents himself survived.) Happily, Laurents did not let his personal feelings for Robbins get in the way of working with him, not only in West Side Story but in the equally-wonderful Gypsy (1959), and La Cage aux Folles.
Laurents' The Enclave was one of the first Broadway plays to deal openly and honestly with homosexuality.
In 1940-1945, he enlists in U.S. Army. Initially assigned to a photographic unit at Fort Benning, Georgia, he eventually is reassigned to work on military training films. He leaves Army with rank of Sergeant.
Since 1955 Arthur Laurents (right) is the lover of Tom Hatcher (left).
Laurents remains active; directing a London revival of West Side Story (1998), speaking at meetings of SAGE, giving to gay causes through the Laurents Foundation, and of course writing this book.
As the last of his generation, Laurents mourns his lost friends, though this is something that many of us younger gays can relate to, in this age of AIDS.