||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (July 2009)|
March 31, 1939 |
|Occupation||Playwright, Director, Actor|
Early life and career
Horovitz was born to a Jewish family in Wakefield, Massachusetts, the son of Hazel Rose (née Solberg) and Julius Charles Horovitz, a lawyer. At age 13, he wrote his first novel which was rejected by Simon & Schuster but complimented for its “wonderful, childlike qualities.” At age 17, he wrote his first play entitled The Comeback which was performed at nearby Suffolk University beginning his career as a playwright.
Horovitz has written more than 70 produced plays, many of which have been translated and performed in more than 30 languages worldwide. Among Horovitz's best-known plays are Line (a revival of which opened in 1974 and is NYC's longest-running play still running, now in its 38th year of continuous performance at off-off-Broadway's 13th Street Repertory Theatre), Park Your Car in Harvard Yard, The Primary English Class, The Widow's Blind Date, What Strong Fences Make, and The Indian Wants the Bronx, for which he won the Obie Award for Best Play, and which featured two yet-undiscovered future film stars: John Cazale and Al Pacino.
Horovitz divides his time between the USA and France, where he often directs French-language productions of his plays. On his 70th birthday, Horovitz was decorated by the French government as Commandeur dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. The 70/70 Horovitz Project was created by NYC Barefoot Theatre Company to celebrate Horovitz's 70th birthday. During the year following March 31, 2009, 70 of Horovitz's plays had productions and/or reading by theatre companies around the globe, including the national theatres of Nigeria, Benin, Greece and Ghana. He is the most-produced American playwright in French theatre history.
Horovitz is Founding Artistic Director of the Gloucester Stage Company in Gloucester, Massachusetts, a theatre he created in 1979 and served as its Artistic Director for 28 years. He also founded The New York Playwrights Lab in 1975, and still serves as the NYPL's Artistic Director. In addition, Horovitz is one of a select group of non-actors awarded membership in The Actors Studio.
Horovitz had a long-term friendship with Irish playwright Samuel Beckett and often found in Beckett a thematic and stylistic model and inspiration for his own work. Horovitz has recently been working with The Byre Theatre of St Andrews, Scotland.
His screenplay for the 1982 film Author! Author!, starring Al Pacino, is a largely autobiographical account of a playwright dealing with the stress of having his play produced on Broadway while trying to raise a large family. Other Horovitz-penned films include the award-winning Sunshine, co-written with Istvan Szabo (European Academy Award - Best Screenplay), 3 Weeks After Paradise (which he directed and in which he starred), James Dean, an award-winning biography of the actor, and The Strawberry Statement (Prix du Jury, Cannes Film festival, 1970), a movie adapted from a journalistic novel by James Simon Kunen that deals with the student political unrest of the 1960s.
He has won numerous awards for his work, including two Obies, the Drama Desk Award, The Sony Radio Academy Award (for Man In Snow on BBC-Radio 4). He also won an Award in Literature from The American Academy of Arts and Letters; The Governor of Massachusetts' Leadership Award; The Prix de Plaisir du Theatre; The Italia (for radio plays); The Writers Guild of Canada Best Screenwriter Award; The Christopher Award; an Award in Literature of the American Academy of Arts and Letters; the Elliot Norton Prize; a Lifetime Achievement Award from B'nai B'rith; the Literature Prize of Washington College; an honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Salem State College; Boston Public Library's Literary Lights Award; the Walker Hancock Prize, many others.
In 1993, The Boston Phoenix published an article which covered a series of accusations against Horovitz by six different women associated with the Gloucester Stage Company, the theater company he founded. The actresses and staff members alleged that the playwright used offensive language, kissed, and/or fondled them. In response, Horovitz said, “it’s rubbish. Someone was fired, and this is their revenge.” No charges were ever filed against the author and there have been no lawsuits.
He has been married twice:
- Doris Keefe, a painter of Roman Catholic Irish descent. She died at age 45 of cirrosis of the liver. They had three children, who were raised secularly:
- Gillian Adams, an Anglican (born 1955) with whom he has two children, raised in the Jewish faith: twins Hannah and Oliver Horovitz (born 1985).
|1969||Machine Gun McCain (film)||Dialogue as Israel Horowitz|
|1969||ITV Saturday Night Theatre (TV Series) "It's Called the Sugar Plum"||Writer|
|1970||The Strawberry Statement||Screenplay||Prix du Jury, Cannes Film festival, 1970|
|1971||NET Playhouse (TV Series) "Foul!/Actor's Choice" (segment "Play for Trees")||Writer|
|1971||Believe in Me||Screenplay|
|1981||La Poube (TV movie) (play)||Writer|
|1991||The General Motors Playwrights Theater (TV Series) "Its Called the Sugar Plum" (play)||Writer|
|1997||North Shore Fish (TV movie)||Screenplay|
|1999||Sunshine||Co-Writer, Screenplay||European Academy Award - Best Screenplay|
|2002||3 Weeks After Paradise||Director and Actor|
|2007||Rats (video short)||Writer|
|2009||New York, I Love You (adaptation / segments "Jiang Wen," "Shunji Iwai")||Translations written by|
- Wackfield Observer: "Israel Horovitz on art and religion" by Susan Jacobs September 5, 2007
- Interfaith family: "Interfaith Celebrities: Oscar Time! Jewish/Interfaith Nominees" By Nate Bloom February 21, 2012
- "Israel Horovitz Biography (1939-)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2012-03-17.
- "Biography". American Theatre Wing. Retrieved 2007-08-01.
- Line photos and history
- Line at 13th Street Theatre
- "Playwright Honored by France". Jewish Daily Forward. Retrieved 2012-04-20.
- "Playwright Honored by France". Washington Square Arts. Retrieved 2010.
- Garfield, David (1980). "Strasberg Takes Over: 1951-1955". A Player's Place: The Story of The Actors Studio. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc. p. 93. ISBN 0-02-542650-8. "Various directors and playwrights, including Frank Corsaro, Martin Fried, Jack Garfein, Michal V. Gazzo, Charles Gordone, Israel Horovitz, Arthur Penn, Eleanor Perry, Frank Perry, Sidney Pollack, Mark Rydell, Alan Schneider, and John Stix, have also been granted membership on the basis of their contributions to the life and work of The Actors Studio, as have certain other non-performers, such as Liska March and Carl Schaeffer."
- "Boston.com / St. Patrick's Day 2000". Samuel-beckett.net. 1995-12-31. Retrieved 2012-03-17.
- "whats-on". Byretheatre.com. 2011-06-14. Retrieved 2012-03-17.
- "Israel Horovitz Residency". The List. Retrieved 2012-03-17.
- The Jewish Journal: "How studio exec-turned-producer pitched ‘Moneyball’" by Naomi Pfefferman February 16, 2012
- Horovitz, Israel at the Internet Movie Database
- Official website
- Israel Horovitz: A Collection of Critical Essays The Influence of Samuel Beckett on Israel Horovitz by Robert Scanlan