Notable Deaths

November 29, 2008

WILLIAM GIBSON, 94

'Miracle Worker' playwright

William Gibson, a playwright who had a gift for creating strong, popular female characters and wrote The Miracle Worker, died Tuesday in Stockbridge, Mass.

First written for television, The Miracle Worker, which portrayed the relationship between the young blind and deaf Helen Keller and her teacher, Annie Sullivan, was adapted for Broadway in 1959 and won the 1960 Tony Award for best play. Nearly half a century later, it is still performed at regional theaters around the country.

Over the course of a writing career that lasted seven decades, Mr. Gibson wrote many poems, short stories and plays, but none achieved the breakout fame and popular acclaim of The Miracle Worker.

The 1962 film version earned Oscar nominations for Mr. Gibson for his adaptation, and for the director, Arthur Penn. Anne Bancroft, who won a Tony for her portrayal of Sullivan, won a best actress Oscar, and Patty Duke, who also reprised her role as Miss Keller from the Broadway production, won another for best supporting actress.

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