Arthur Laurents (1917 - 2011) was an American playwright, librettist and screenwriter. He was a major figure in the American theater of the postwar years and an important contributor to the musicals West Side Story, Gypsy, and Hallelujah, Baby!.
Laurents was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1917. He began his career as a playwright, writing and producing several plays in the 1940s, including Home of the Brave and The Bird Cage. He was also a librettist for musicals such as West Side Story, Gypsy, and Hallelujah, Baby!. He also wrote the book for the musical Do I Hear a Waltz?, which ran for a short time on Broadway.
Laurents was also a screenwriter for film, writing the screenplay for Anastasia, The Way We Were, and Rope. His screenplay for The Way We Were was nominated for an Academy Award. He also wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation of his play The Turning Point.
In addition to his work in theater and film, Laurents wrote several books, including West Side Story: The Making of a Classic, and the autobiographical Original Story By. His book A Clearing in the Woods, a memoir of his childhood, was published in 2007.
Laurents was a passionate advocate for LGBT rights and an important figure in the fight for marriage equality. He wrote an essay for The New York Times in 2009, in which he criticized the state of California for its ban on same-sex marriage.
Laurents was married to actress and director Barbara Lawrence from 1951 until his death in 2011. He died at the age of 93 in Manhattan. His legacy as a playwright, librettist, and screenwriter will continue to be remembered and celebrated.