Israel Horovitz Biography


(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Israel Horovitz was born in Wakefield, Massachusetts, a town of more than twenty thousand people not far from Boston. Its impact on him is clear in much of his later work—notably The Wakefield Plays and The Widow’s Blind Date, with their evocation of a stifling small-town atmosphere. Although one source, Contemporary Authors (1978), says that his father, Julius Charles Horovitz, was a lawyer, a 1982 interview in New York indicates that his father was a truck driver. Bright but lower-middle-class, Horovitz did not attend college. When asked in 1972 to teach playwriting at City College of New York, he listed on his employment form, “Harvard, B.A.” for his college education. When this falsification was discovered, Horovitz lost the job. Comparison of various biographical sketches in his published works and other sources reveals a number of discrepancies.

Horovitz’s first play, The Comeback, was written when Horovitz was seventeen and was produced in Boston in 1958, when he was nineteen. He continued to write and to have plays produced throughout the early 1960’s. During this period, he was a fellow in playwriting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and was honored as the first American to be selected as playwright-in-residence with the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Aldwych Theatre, in 1965. It was not until Line, in 1967, however, that his work was produced in New York, by Ellen Stewart’s...

(The entire section is 565 words.)