Israel Horovitz, Playwright Tarnished by Abuse Allegations, Dies at 81


Decades earlier, in 1993, the weekly newspaper The Boston Phoenix reported that women at Gloucester Stage Company had accused Mr. Horovitz of sexual misconduct, but nothing was done. After The Times article appeared — one of a number of such articles about prominent men that helped propel the #metoo movement — Gloucester Stage severed its ties with him.

Mr. Horovitz, responding to the accusations, told The Times that while he had “a different memory of some of these events, I apologize with all my heart to any woman who has ever felt compromised by my actions, and to my family and friends who have put their trust in me.”

“To hear that I have caused pain is profoundly upsetting,” he added, “as is the idea that I might have crossed a line with anyone who considered me a mentor.”

Israel Arthur Horovitz was born on March 31, 1939, in Wakefield, Mass. His father, Julius, was a truck driver who became a lawyer when he was 50; his mother, Hazel Rose (Solberg) Horovitz, was a trained nurse and homemaker.

Mr. Horovitz traced his stage career to his writing a novel at 13.

“It was praised for having a wonderful childlike quality, but it was rejected in this letter that my mother saved,” he told the entertainment website in 2014. “So I wrote a play that was put on when I was 17. Nobody said it was a good play, but everybody said, ‘It’s a play,’ and I thought, So that’s who I am: I’m a playwright.”

He attended Salem Teachers College in Massachusetts in the late 1950s planning to become an English teacher, but left to pursue playwriting while supporting himself as a taxi driver and stagehand. (Years later he earned a master’s degree in English literature at the City University of New York.) In 1962, a fellowship to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art took him to London, and for the 1964-65 season he was playwright in residence at the Royal Shakespeare Theater and the Aldwych Theater in England.



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