A Gift From Frank McCourt
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright John Patrick Shanley recalls meeting Frank McCourt when he was a teenager, and seeing him for the last time. Plus, read McCourt’s article about Doubt, Shanley’s play.
I met Frank when I was 17. We had a friend in common, a professor named Terry Moran. Frank's skin was delicate, lily white with a permanent flush. He approached speaking carefully, like it could go very wrong. It never did. His attitude when listening to my teenaged opinions was merry and despairing. He knew he had to let me say these foolish things, that there was no help for it. He tried to enjoy everything that happened. He often failed, but not before he had tried. He was used to ignorance, but not comfortable with it. His face told everything, but you had to be smart to understand his face. He was a sophisticated man, often isolated by his wisdom. I saw him a few weeks ago at a function. He knew he was going to die. We embraced and didn't speak of it. Every time I saw him, he gave me something.
John Patrick Shanley is an award-winning American playwright. He won the Academy Award for his script for the 1987 film, Moonstruck. In 1990, Shanley directed his script of Joe Versus the Volcano and in 2005, he won the Pulitzer Prize for Doubt. He directed the movie version last year.