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George Furth Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Trade Mark (1) | Trivia (11) | Personal Quotes (1)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 14 December 1932Chicago, Illinois, USA
Date of Death 11 August 2008Santa Monica, California, USA  (lung infection)
Birth NameGeorge Schweinfurth
Height 5' 9½" (1.77 m)

Mini Bio (1)

George Furth was born on December 14, 1932 in Chicago, Illinois, USA as George Schweinfurth. He was an actor and writer, known for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), Blazing Saddles (1974) and The Man with Two Brains (1983). He died on August 11, 2008 in Santa Monica, California, USA.

Trade Mark (1)

Usually played nervous, stuttering, sneaky characters

Trivia (11)

Won Broadway's 1971 Tony Award as Best Book (Musical) for "Company."
In the early 1970s, plans to film his hit 1971 Broadway play 'Twigs' with Elizabeth Taylor playing four roles never materialized.
2000: Worked with Stephen Sondheim on 1981 Broadway musical "Merrily We Roll Along". It was awarded Best New Musical at the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 2001.
He graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in speech, and received a master of fine arts degree from Columbia University in 1956.
Biography/bibliography in: "Contemporary Authors". New Revision Series, volume 144, pages 160-162. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale, 2006.
In the late 60s he began jotting down ideas for a series of one-act plays, with the idea of getting actress Kim Stanley to play the lead in each playlet. When no producer would bite, he turned to Stephen Sondheim, who, in turn, showed the work to director Harold Prince. The result was 1970's landmark Broadway musical "Company". George later used some of the one-acts not used in "Company" to form "Twigs," a 1971 quartet of interconnected plays about four women, all from the same family.
Other plays included "Precious Sons" and "The Supporting Cast." He also wrote the book for the John Kander and Fred Ebb musical "The Act" starring Liza Minnelli. "Getting Away With Murder," a third collaboration with Stephen Sondheim, a comedy thriller that ran a few weeks in 1996, was a rare stab at straight playwriting and one of the last examples of the thriller genre to reach Broadway.
He graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in speech and received a master of fine arts degree from Columbia University in 1956.
In the late 1990s, there was talk of Annette Bening starring in his comedy entitled "Sex, Sex, Sex, Sex, Sex, Sex, Sex," but the production never materialized.
A close, devoted friend to Warren Beatty, he appeared in support to the star in both Shampoo (1975) and Bulworth (1998).
George Furth wrote eleven one-act plays planned for Kim Stanley as each of the separate leads. Hollywood actor Anthony Perkins, interested in directing, asked Sondheim to read the material. After Sondheim read the plays, Sondheim asked Harold Prince for his opinion; Prince thought the plays would make the basis for a musical. The theme would be New York marriages with a central character to examine those marriages. Originally titled "Threes," its plot revolves around Bobby, a single man unable to commit fully to a steady relationship, let alone marriage, four married couples, and one single couple, who are his best friends, and also includes Bobby's three free-wheeling girl friends. Unlike most book musicals, which follow a clearly delineated plot, "Company" is a concept musical composed of short vignettes, presented in no particular chronological order, linked by a celebration for Bobby's 35th birthday. "Company" was among the first musicals to deal with adult themes and relationships. As Sondheim puts it, "Broadway theater has been for many years supported by upper-middle-class people with upper-middle-class problems. These people really want to escape that world when they go to the theatre, and then here we are with 'Company' talking about how we're going to bring it right back in their faces." "Company" opened in Boston in out-of-town tryouts, receiving mixed reviews, from the Boston Evening Globe "Brilliant", to Variety Magazine "The songs are for the most part undistinguished" and "As it stands now it's for ladies' matinees, homos and misogynists." The book was by George Furth; Lyrics and music was by Steven Sondheim; Direction was by Harold Prince. "Company" opened on April 26, 1970, at the Alvin Theatre in New York City, where it ran for 705 performances after seven previews. Musical staging was by Michael Bennett, assisted by Bob Avian. The set design by Boris Aronson consisted of two working elevators and various vertical platforms that emphasized the musical's theme of isolation. The role of Robert, originally performed by Dean Jones, is the central character; his 35th birthday brings the group together. The original cast included Dean Jones, who had replaced Anthony Perkins early in the rehearsal period when Perkins departed to direct a play. Shortly after opening night, Jones withdrew from the show, allegedly due to illness, but actually due to stress he was suffering from ongoing divorce proceedings. He was replaced by his understudy Larry Kert, who had created the role of Tony in Leonard Bernstein's Broadway musical "West Side Story." Larry Kert earned rave reviews for his performance when the critics were invited to return soon after opening night. The original Broadway cast included Donna McKechnie, Susan Browning, Pamela Myers, Barbara Barrie, Charles Kimbrough, Merle Louise, Beth Howland, and Elaine Stritch. "Company" was honored with the following theatre awards: the 1971 New York Drama Desk Award for (1) Outstanding Book of a Musical awarded to George Furth; (2) Outstanding Director of a Musical awarded to Harold Prince; (3) Outstanding Lyrics and (4) Outstanding Music awarded to Stephen Sondheim; (5) Outstanding Set Design was awarded to Boris Aronson. The New York Theatre World Award was awarded to actor Susan Browning. In an unusual move, the Tony Awards committee deemed Larry Kert eligible for a nomination, an honor usually reserved for the actor who technically originates a role. The musical was nominated for a record setting 14 Tony Award Nominations and won six. "Company" won the (1) Tony Award for Best Musical; (2) Tony Award Best Score (music) and (3) Tony Award Best Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim; (4) Tony Award Best Book of a Musical by George Furth; (5) Tony Award Best Direction for a Musical by Harold Prince; (6) Tony Award Best Scenic Design by Boris Aronson; Nominated for Tony Award Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical (7) Larry Kert; Nominated for Tony Award Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical (8) Elaine Stritch and (9) Susan Browning; Nominated for Tony Award Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical (10) Charles Kimbrough; Nominated for Tony Award Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical (11) Barbara Barrie and (12) Pamela Myers; Nominated for Tony Award Best Choreography (13) Michael Bennett; Nominated for Tony Award Best Lighting Design (14) Robert Ornbo. Note: In the early 1990s, Furth and Sondheim revised the libretto, cutting and altering dialogue that had become dated and rewriting the end to act one.

Personal Quotes (1)

I just don't do interviews. That's why I have so many friends.

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