writer, director, actor
Bill Gunn (born William Harrison Gunn; July 15, 1934 - April 5, 1989) was an American playwright, novelist, actor and film director. His 1973 cult classic horror film Ganja and Hess was chosen as one of ten best American films of the decade at the Cannes Film Festival, 1973. His drama [1 ] Johnnas won an Emmy award in 1972. [2 ]
A native of
Philadelphia, Gunn wrote more than 29 plays during his lifetime. He also authored two novels and wrote several produced screenplays. He died from encephalitis at a Nyack, New York hospital the day before his play, The Forbidden City opened at the Public Theater in New York City. [3 ]
Bibliography [ edit ]
Marcus in the High Grass (1959) - produced in New York City by Theatre Guild.
Johnnas (1968) - produced in New York City at Chelsea Theatre.
Black Picture Show (1975) - produced in New York City at Vivian Beaumont Theater.
Rhinestone (musical; based on novel Rhinestone Sharecropping) (1982) produced in New York City at Richard Allen Center.
Family Employment (1985) - produced in New York City at The Public Theater.
The Forbidden City (1989) - produced in New York City at The Public Theater. Also author of
Celebration - produced in Los Angeles at Mark Taper Forum.
Screenplays [ edit ]
Fame Game (1968), Columbia Pictures.
Friends (1968), Universal Studios.
Stop (1969), (never released), Warner. (With
Ronald Ribman) (1970) (adaptation of novel by Bernard Malamud), United Artists. The Angel Levine
Don't the Moon Look Lonesome (1970) (adaptation of novel by Don Asher), Chuck Barris Productions.
(1970) (adaptation of novel by Kristin Hunter), United Artists. The Landlord
(1973), Kelly-Jordan Enterprises, re-edited and released under title Blood Couple, Heritage Enterprises. Ganja and Hess
The Greatest: The Muhammed Ali Story (1976), Columbia.
Television Screenplays [ edit ]
Johnnas (1972), National Broadcasting Company (NBC).
The Alberta Hunter Story (1982), Southern Pictures/British Broadcasting Corporation (London).
Filmography (as director) [ edit ]
Ganja & Hess
... aka Black Evil ... aka Black Vampire (USA: video title) ... aka Blackout: The Moment of Terror ... aka Blood Couple (cut version) ... aka Double Possession ... aka Vampires of Harlem
Personal Problems director
Filmography (as actor) [ edit ]
References [ edit ]
^ Harris, Brandon. "Bill Gunn Surfaces at BAM." Filmmaker Magazine. 31 Mar. 2010. Retrieved 18 February 2011. 
^ Obituary, By C. GERALD FRASER, The New York Times, Published: Friday, April 7, 1989, section D, page 20 of the New York edition. Retrieved March 24, 2009. 
^ West, Malcolm R., ed. (April 24, 1989). "Playwright Bill Gunn, 59, dies on eve of premiere". Jet (Chicago, Illinois: Johnson Publishing Company, Inc.) 76 (3): 53.
Further reading [ edit ]
Tate, Greg. "Bill Gunn, 1934-89."
Village Voice. Published: Apr 25, 1989. Vol. 34, Iss. 17, p. 98. Williams, John. "Bill Gunn (1929-1989): A Checklist of His Films, Dramatic Works and Novels."
Black American Literature Forum. 25.4 (1991): 781- (7p).
External links [ edit ]