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Edward Albee: A Timeline of His Life and Work

March 12, 1928 Edward Albee is born Edward Harvey to mother Louise Harvey in Washington, D.C.
February 1, 1929 He is formally adopted by the wealthy Reed and Frances Albee for $133.30 in Larchmont, New York.
1940-1944 Albee is thrown out of the expensive boarding school Lawrenceville only to be sent, as a last resort, to Valley Forge Military Academy, which taught only two courses, according to the playwright: “Sadism and Masochism.” He leaves Valley Forge to attend Choate School. It was “like moving from Purgatory to Heaven,” he says.
1945 Albee is published for the first time as a poet in the Texas monthly Kaleidograph, with the poem "Eighteen."
1946 Albee graduates from Choate School, the first and only educational institution he will graduate from. He begins college at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., but leaves after a year and a half.
1950 Albee leaves his family's home after an argument with his mother and moves to Greenwich Village, New York, where he works a variety of dead-end jobs.
1958 After turning 30, he quits his job as a messenger boy for Western Union and writes his first play, The Zoo Story, in just three weeks. Unable to find a New York producer, The Zoo Story opens in Europe.
1959 The Zoo Story is awarded a Berlin Festival Award, and Albee follows it with three short plays: The Death of Bessie Smith, Fam and Yam, and The Sandbox.
1960-1961
Edward Albee in 1962, the year of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
The Zoo Story, The American Dream, and The Death of Bessie Smith win acclaim, including an Obie Award for The Zoo Story and a second Berlin Festival Award for The Death of Bessie Smith. Albee begins work on his very first full-length play titled after a question he saw scrawled on the bathroom mirror in a Greenwich Village bar: "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"
1961 Albee's father, Reed Albee, dies of prostate cancer.
1962-1963 Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? plays on Broadway for 644 performances. Initial reviews were critical, calling it a play "For Dirty Minded Females Only" or claiming that "No red-blooded American would bring his wife to this shocking play." Despite the press, seats were full, and the play earned two Tony Awards and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, among others.
1964 Edward Albee, Richard Barr, and Clinton Wilder start Playwrights Unit at the Cherry Lane Theatre with the profits from Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. Playwrights Unit would go on to nurture playwrights like Sam Shepard, Lanford Wilson, and John Guare.
1966 Albee begins a brief career as a musical theatre writer and took on rewrites of the book for Breakfast at Tiffany's in order to make it a "real tough musical." He says: "I did indeed take the show over and managed, in only two weeks, to turn something which would have been a six-month mediocrity into an instant disaster." The show was cancelled after five previews.
1967 Albee wins his first Pulitzer Prize, for A Delicate Balance. The play's principle character, Agnes, is based on his alcoholic aunt Jane. After seeing the play, Aunt Jane sent him a note saying, "There's so much food for thought after you leave the theater."
1971-1975
Albee in 1987.
Albee says, "There are only two things to write about: life and death." Sure enough, he wrote two one-act plays Life and Death. Death became All Over, which opened on Broadway in 1971 to unfavorable reviews. Life became the very successful Seascape. In 1975, Seascape won three Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize.
1989 Albee's mother, Frances Albee, dies in March.
1990-1994 Three Tall Women opens in Vienna and then in New York to great acclaim. The production receives a New York Drama Critics Circle Award, a Lucille Lortel Award, a London Evening Standard Award, and an Outer Critics Circle Award. Albee wins his third Pulitzer Prize.
1996 A Delicate Balance wins the Tony for Best Revival of a Play. Albee is also awarded the Kennedy Center Honors and the National Medal of Arts.
2002 The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? wins the 2002 Tony for Best Play and is nominated for a Pulitzer.
2005
Albee today.
Albee is awarded the special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is revived on Broadway.
2010 Me, Myself, and I makes its New York City premiere at Playwrights Horizons with director Emily Mann.

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