Audrey Wood (literary agent)

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Audrey Wood
Born Audrey Violet Wood
(1905-02-28)February 28, 1905
New York City, New York, United States
Died December 27, 1985(1985-12-27) (aged 80)
Occupation Literary agent
Organization Liebling-Wood, Inc.
Spouse(s) William Liebling

Audrey Wood (born Audrey Violet Wood, February 28, 1905 – December 27, 1985)[1] was an American literary and theatrical agent. Wood was influential in the careers of several of the most recognized dramatic playwrights of the mid-20th century, including Tennessee Williams, William Inge, Robert Anderson and Arthur Kopit.[2][3]


Wood's agency, Liebling-Wood, Inc. opened its doors at 30 Rockefeller Plaza on April 23, 1937 in partnership with her husband, William Liebling.[3] Wood's clients were chiefly playwrights, while Liebling was known for his list of actors; both partners established strong reputations for representing artists in their respective fields who rose to prominence on the stage and screen.

Tennessee Williams[edit]

One of Wood's early clients was Tennessee Williams who produced many of his most well-regarded stage plays while represented by Wood. In 1939, Wood helped Williams obtain a $1,000 grant from the Rockefeller Foundation in recognition of his play Battle of Angels (1940). Based on their correspondence, scholar Albert J. Devlin has characterized Wood as Williams' "primary and most trusted reader for at least the first two decades of their association."[4]

Williams apparently blamed Wood for discouraging or censoring him in some cases, for instance in the early drafts of Camino Real (1953), but scholars seem to agree the realities were more nuanced than one might conclude relying on only the representations in Williams' part of the correspondence or on Wood's responses.[4][5]

Works promoted by Wood[edit]

A partial listing of plays, movies and other properties Wood was associated with:

Year Title Author
1944 The Glass Menagerie Tennessee Williams
1947 A Streetcar Named Desire Tennessee Williams
1948 Summer and Smoke Tennessee Williams
1953 Picnic William Inge
1953 Tea and Sympathy Robert Anderson
1949 Come Back, Little Sheba William Inge
1967 Indians Arthur Kopit
1977 A Texas Trilogy Preston Jones


Wood suffered a stroke on April 30, 1981, outside the Royalton Hotel in Manhattan, where she had lived since the 1930s. She remained in a coma until her death on December 27, 1985.[6][7]


The Audrey Wood Scholarship was established in 1983 by friends of Miss Wood, and is awarded to students in the Playwriting department of Yale University.[8] In 1984, a 199-seat section of the Jack Lawrence Theater was renamed the Audrey Wood Theater in her honor. Management had apparently wanted to name the space for Tennessee Williams, an attempt that was disputed by the Williams estate. Jack Lawrence sold the entire theater to a developer in 1987, after struggling to compete with other Off-Broadway venues.[9][10]

In 1990 Max Wilk released Mr. Williams and Miss Woods: A Two Character Play, as a tribute to the thirty-year relationship between the playwright and his agent. The two-act play was adapted from Represented by Audrey Wood, a memoir which Wilk co-wrote with Wood.[11] Wilk's play has been staged several times over the years, most recently by the Ashland Contemporary Theatre of Ashland, Oregon, in 2014.[12][13][14]

Audrey Wood's papers are held at the Harry Ransom Center of the University of Texas at Austin, along with the papers of Tennessee Williams. Wood's collection includes playbills, scripts, musical scores, photographs, correspondence and the business records of the Liebling-Wood Agency.[15][16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mitgang, Herbert. "Theater Community Honors Audrey Woods". The New York Times. January 16, 1986. B11. Retrieved November 26, 2013.
  2. ^ "Audrey Wood." Oxford Companion to American Theatre.
  3. ^ a b Wood, Audrey, and Max Wilk. Represented by Audrey Wood. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1981. ISBN 0385152019.
  4. ^ a b Devlin, Albert J. "The Selected Letters of Tennessee Williams: Prospects for Research." Retrieved April 5, 2017. (Essay discusses Williams' probable hyperbole in complaining about Wood's "interference.")
  5. ^ Murphy, Brenda. Tennessee Williams and Elia Kazan: A collaboration in the theatre. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992. ISBN 0521400953. Google Books. Retrieved November 26, 2013.
  6. ^ Mitgang, Herbert. "Audrey Wood is Dead: A Leading Theatrical Agent." The New York Times, Decemter 29, 1985. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
  7. ^ Barranger, Milly. Audrey Wood and the Playwrights. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Google Books. ISBN 1137270616. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
  8. ^ "School of Drama 2015-2016: Fellowships and Scholarships." Yale University Bulletin. Retrieved September 22, 2015.
  9. ^ "Theater Is Dedicated to Audrey Wood, Agent." The New York Times. October 23, 1984. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
  10. ^ "Jack Lawrence Theater Is Sold to a Developer." The New York Times. November 25, 1987. Retrieved April 1, 2015.
  11. ^ Wilk, Max. Mr. Williams and Miss Woods. Dramatists Play Service, 1990. Google Books. ISBN 0822207834. Retrieved June 26, 2007.
  12. ^ Decker, Angela. "Mr. Williams and Miss Wood." Ashland Daily Tidings. June 25, 2014. Retrieved June 26, 2014.
  13. ^ "Mr. Williams and Miss Wood." Retrieved June 26, 2014.
  14. ^ Keefe, Rosemary. "'Mr. Williams and Miss Woods': Adobe Theater Launches Albuquerque's Tennessee Williams Festival 2011." Retrieved April 9, 2015.
  15. ^ McKinney, Kelsey. "Fellows Fine: Audrey Wood Collection Reveals Relationship Between the Literary Agent and the Playwrights She Represented." Cultural Compass: Harry Ransom Center. Retrieved April 12, 2015.
  16. ^ "Audrey Wood: An Inventory of Her Collection at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center." Retrieved April 22, 2015.

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