Playwright Robert Anderson, author of many hit Broadway plays among them “Tea and Sympathy”, I Never San For You Father”, “ Silent Night, Lonely Night” and “You Know I Can’t Hear You When The Waters Running” died on Monday. He was 91 years old.
Anderson also wrote the screenplays for “The Nun’s Story”, “Until They Sail” and “The Sand Pebbles” in addition to adaptations of many of his own theater works. Anderson’s work was somewhat controversial at the time. His 1953 play “Tea and Sympathy”, directed by Elia Kazan, about an adulterous interlude between a professor’s wife and a student raised eyebrows. Deborah Kerr made her Broadway debut in this play soon after her steamy performance in “From Here to Eternity.” The play also starred John Kerr (no relation) as the young 17-year-old sexually insecure student. After a failed attempt at suicide, Deborah Kerr’s character offers herself to the boy in order to reinstate his sexual identity and confidence. The play ran for 712 performances. Later in the run, Joan Fontaine and Anthony Perkins assumed the lead roles. The hit play was made into a film in 1956 with the same two leads and was directed by Vincent Minnelli.
Anderson was married (his second wife) to actress Theresa Wright from 1959 to 1978.
Attached here is the New York Times obituary.
New York Times theater review of 2007 revival of Tea and Sympathy.