Playwright Wendy Wasserstein '71 Dies at Age 55

The Mount Holyoke College community worldwide mourns the loss of Wendy Wasserstein '71, who died January 30, 2006, in New York City. Wasserstein, a Tony-, Obie-, and Pulitzer-prize winning playwright and one of the College's most prominent alumnae, was a dedicated supporter of Mount Holyoke who embodied the mission of the College in her work and life. Her plays, which include Uncommon Women and Others, The Heidi Chronicles, An American Daughter, and The Sisters Rosensweig, articulated a complex, witty vision of contemporary women and their efforts to negotiate the world of careers, relationships, family, and society. Wasserstein also wrote critically praised essays about her childhood and family, her career as a female playwright, and her daughter, Lucy Jane, born in 1999 when Wasserstein was 48.

"In addition to being a gifted, award-winning artist with a distinctive wit and voice, Wendy was a very funny and unfailingly amiable person, beloved by all who knew her," said President Joanne Creighton. "Wendy approached life with thoughtfulness, imagination, and humor, which was reflected in all her work. She was a loyal alumna and an articulate champion of Mount Holyoke. Although we will miss her, she leaves behind a luminous legacy in her portrayals of the joys, anxieties, and challenges of modern womanhood, which have touched so many people over the years."

Vanessa James, chair of the theatre department at Mount Holyoke, remembers Wasserstein as "full of brilliant humor and infectious energy. Her incisive wit influenced many young playwrights and her wild imagination inspired all of us who knew and admired her work."

In 1985, the Alumnae Association awarded Wasserstein with its highest honor, the Mary Lyon Award. W. Rochelle Calhoun, executive director of the Alumnae Association, said, "The Alumnae Association was pleased to recognize the work of one of the brightest and most original minds of her generation, and we mourn her untimely passing."

Related Links:

NY Times Article

NY Times Editorials/Op-Ed

College to Pay Tribute to Wendy Wasserstein '71

Memorial in NY Times