Legendary playwright Edward Albee dead at 88

In 1962, Albee rocked Broadway with the brutal three -act sex-and-booze-drenched "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?". The scathing portrait of an unhappy marriage contained language rarely heard on the stage.

American playwright Edward Albee in England where the RSC (Royal Shakespeare Company) are performing his play "A Delicate Balance".

Best known for his works like "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' and 'A Delicate Balance", Albee had won the Pulitzer prize three times.

Albee's personal assistant confirmed the playwright's death to the Associated Press and NPR. But it won Albee a Tony Award for Best Play, was adapted into a well-regarded 1966 movie starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, and has been revived frequently. Michael McKean wrote: "There was only one Edward Albee".

Albee was born in 1928 and was adopted by a wealthy suburban NY couple.

Albee's first play The Zoo Story set the tone for much that followed although his writing would become increasingly more nuanced, exchanging the confrontational conceit of the absurd for a more emotionally probing exploration of contemporary relationships.

In 2005 Albee was awarded a Tony Lifetime Achievement Award. Albee had a hard childhood and as he would later recall, differed sharply from his adopted parents who, he said, disapproved of his ambition to become a writer instead of a businessman.

He introduced himself suddenly and with a bang, in 1959, when his first produced play, The Zoo Story, opened in Berlin on a double bill with Samuel Beckett's "Krapp's Last Tape". Albee was influenced by the European Absurdists, but his subject matter was American domestic and social dysfunction.

He spent 30 years with his partner Jonathan Thomas, from 1971 till Thomas's death in 2005.

  • Archie Newman