As a "30th birthday present" to himself, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Edward Franklin Albee, III (1928-) quit his job with Western Union and began writing full-time.
Three weeks later,The Zoo Story (1960) was done and Albee established himself as a vital, cutting-edge writer and cultural hero. His short, probing dramas successfully blended fantasy with realism and passionately grabbed the imagination of others.
"The difference between critics and audiences is that one is a group of humans and one is not," said the outspoken writer.
In 1962 Albee gained international fame with the brilliant Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, a powerful look at cruelty and love in marriage.
"I have a fine sense of the ridiculous, but no sense of humor," he wrote in Act One.
Called "the most skillful composer of dialogue that America has produced," by critic Ruby Cohn, Albee once explained that he formulated his story completely long before he actually began to write.
"When a play enters my consciousness," Albee said, "it is already a fairly well-developed fetus. I don't put down a word until the play seems ready to be written."
"The thing that makes a creative person is to be creative and that is all there is to it," he said.
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