Frank D. Gilroy, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Playwright, Dies at 89

Walter McBride/WireImage
Frank D. Gilroy performs in a special preview of the 2014 New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) at Ford Foundation Studio Theatre in The Pershing Square Signature Center on July 2, 2014 in New York City.

Frank D. Gilroy, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, screenwriter and director, died Saturday evening from natural causes. He was 89. 

Gilroy wrote the 1964 play The Subject Was Roses, for which he won the Tony Award for best play and the Pulitzer Prize for drama. The play centers on a World War II veteran returning home to deal with family tension. 

He also worked in Hollywood, writing screenplays including the 1968 film adaptation of The Subject Was Roses. Other Hollywood film work included the screenplay for The Gallant Hours (1960), which starred James Cagney, along with writing and directing Desperate Characters (1971) starring Shirley MacLaine

Gilroy was born in New York City in 1925 before attending Dartmouth College and Yale School of Drama. He wrote for numerous live TV shows before getting started in theater.

Gilroy is survived by Ruth, his wife of 62 years, and their three sons, Tony, Dan and John Gilroy, who are all working in Hollywood. Tony wrote the first three Bourne films, which star Matt Damon, and he co-wrote and directed 2012's Jeremy Renner vehicle The Bourne Legacy. Dan wrote and directed 2014's Jake Gyllenhaal-starrer Nightcrawler, among other writing credits, including co-writing Bourne Legacy with Tony. John is a film editor with credits on Michael ClaytonPacific Rim and Nightcrawler

A memorial service is planned for the fall. 

This article originally appeared on


The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to

To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.