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James Leo Herlihy

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James Herlihy

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Novelist, playwright, actor

October 21, 1993, Los Angeles, California, United States

Midnight Cowboy, All Fall Down, The Season of the Witch

Midnight Cowboy, All Fall Down, Blue Denim

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James Leo Herlihy Life & Works

James Leo Herlihy (; February 27, 1927 – October 21, 1993) was an American novelist, playwright and actor.


James Leo Herlihy Florida Memory Portrait of author James Leo Herlihy at

Herlihy is known for his novels Midnight Cowboy and All Fall Down, and his play Blue Denim, all of which were adapted for cinema. Other publications include The Season of the Witch and several short stories.


Midnight Cowboy - Intro Scene - Everybody's Talkin'


James Leo Herlihy James Leo Herlihy Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

Herlihy was born into a working class family in Detroit, Michigan in 1927. He was raised in Detroit and in Chillicothe, Ohio. He enlisted with the Navy in 1945 but never saw action due to the end of World War II. He attended Black Mountain College in North Carolina for two years, where he studied sculpture. He then relocated to Southern California and attended the Pasadena Playhouse College of the Theatre.

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He was gay and a good friend of playwright Tennessee Williams (1911-1983), another trail blazing gay writer who wrote about taboo subjects. Williams served as a mentor to the younger writer. Both spent a good deal of time in Key West, Florida. Like Williams, Herlihy also lived in New York City. Apart from Key West, the primary home of Herlihy was in the Silver Lake district of Los Angeles.

James Leo Herlihy L I T T O R A L James Leo Herlihy The Midnight Cowboy

Herlihy committed suicide at the age of 66, by taking an overdose of sleeping pills in Los Angeles.


James Leo Herlihy April Journal

Plays he wrote include Streetlight Sonata (1950), Moon in Capricorn (1953), and Blue Denim (produced on Broadway in 1958). He directed actress Tallulah Bankhead in a touring production of his play Crazy October in 1959. Three of his one-act plays, titled collectively Stop You're Killing Me were presented by the Theater Company of Boston in 1969. According to author Sean Egan in his biography of James Kirkwood, Jr., Ponies & Rainbows, Herlihy co-wrote the play UTBU with Kirkwood but demanded his name be taken off the credits.

Herihy wrote three novels: All Fall Down (1960), Midnight Cowboy (1965), and The Season of the Witch (1971). His short stories were collected in The Sleep of Baby Filbertson and Other Stories (1959) and A Story That Ends in a Scream and Eight Others (1967), a collection which also included plays.

Acting roles

Herlihy appeared as a guest star in "All The Lovely Pagliaccis," a 1962 episode of the TV series Route 66. He acted in the movie In the French Style (1963) with Jean Seberg. Herlihy also acted in Edward Albee's play The Zoo Story in 1963 in Boston and Paris, and in the 1981 film Four Friends directed by Arthur Penn.

Tax protest

In 1968, Herlihy signed the "Writers and Editors War Tax Protest" pledge, vowing to refuse tax payments as a protest against the Vietnam War.


James Leo Herlihy Wikipedia

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