American People Famous Playwrights from the United States

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List of notable or famous playwrights from the United States, with bios and photos, including the top playwrights born in the United States and even some popular playwrights who immigrated to the United States. If you're trying to find out the names of famous American playwrights then this list is the perfect resource for you. These playwrights are among the most prominent in their field, and information about each well-known playwright from the United States is included when available.

List is made up of people like Steve Martin and Tyler Perry.

This historic playwrights from the United States list can help answer the questions "Who are some American playwrights of note?" and "Who are the most famous playwrights from the United States?" These prominent playwrights of the United States may or may not be currently alive, but what they all have in common is that they're all respected American playwrights.

Use this list of renowned American playwrights to discover some new playwrights that you aren't familiar with. Don't forget to share this list by clicking one of the social media icons at the top or bottom of the page. (847 items)

1
Tyler Perry is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
age 48 Tyler Perry is an American actor, filmmaker, playwright, author, and songwriter, specializing in the gospel genre. Perry wrote and produced many stage plays during the 1990s and early 2000s. In ...more

2
Steve Martin is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
age 72 Stephen Glenn "Steve" Martin is an American comedian, actor, musician, writer, and producer. Martin came to public notice as a writer for the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, and later ...more

3
Woody Allen is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
age 82 Heywood "Woody" Allen is an American actor, writer, director, comedian and playwright, whose career spans more than 50 years. He worked as a comedy writer in the 1950s, writing jokes ...more

4
Maya Angelou is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
Dec. at 86 (1928-2014) Maya Angelou was an American author, poet, dancer, actress, and singer. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, and several books of poetry, and was credited with a list of ...more

5
Ayn Rand is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
Dec. at 77 (1905-1982) Ayn Rand was a Russian-American novelist, philosopher, playwright, and screenwriter. She is known for her two best-selling novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and for developing a ...more

6
Lewis Black is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
age 69 Lewis Niles Black is an American comedian, author, playwright, social critic and actor. He is known for his angry face, comedy and style, which often includes simulating a mental breakdown, or ...more

7
Orson Welles is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
Dec. at 70 (1915-1985) George Orson Welles was an American actor, director, writer and producer who worked in theater, radio and film. He is best remembered for his innovative work in all three media: in theatre, most ...more

8
Gore Vidal is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
Dec. at 87 (1925-2012) Gore Vidal was an American writer and a public intellectual known for his patrician manner, epigrammatic wit, and polished style of writing. As Eugene Louis Vidal, he was born to a political ...more

9
Lisa Edelstein is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
age 51 Lisa Edelstein is an American actress and playwright known for playing Dr. Lisa Cuddy on the medical drama series House M.D..

10
Harvey Fierstein is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
age 63 Harvey Forbes Fierstein is an American actor, playwright, and voice actor. Fierstein has won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play for his own play Torch Song Trilogy and the Tony Award for ...more

11
Laurence Fishburne is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
age 56 Laurence John Fishburne III is an American actor, playwright, director, and producer. He is known for his roles as Morpheus in the Matrix science fiction film trilogy, Mr. Clean in Apocalypse ...more

12
Mae West is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
Dec. at 87 (1893-1980) Mary Jane "Mae" West was an American actress, singer, playwright, screenwriter, and sex symbol whose entertainment career spanned seven decades. Known for her bawdy double entendres, ...more

13
Tennessee Williams is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
Dec. at 72 (1911-1983) Thomas Lanier "Tennessee" Williams III was an American playwright and author of many stage classics. Along with Eugene O'Neill and Arthur Miller he is considered among the three ...more

14
Robert Frost is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
Dec. at 89 (1874-1963) Robert Lee Frost was an American poet. His work was initially published in England before it was published in America. He is highly regarded for his realistic depictions of rural life and his ...more

15
Langston Hughes is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
Dec. at 65 (1902-1967) James Mercer Langston Hughes was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist. He was one of the earliest innovators of the then-new literary art form called jazz ...more

16
Howard Zinn is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
Dec. at 88 (1922-2010) Howard Zinn was an American historian, author, playwright, and social activist. He was a political science professor at Boston University. Zinn wrote more than 20 books, including his ...more

17
Aaron Sorkin is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
age 56 Aaron Benjamin Sorkin is an American screenwriter, producer, and playwright. His works include the Broadway plays A Few Good Men and The Farnsworth Invention; the television series Sports Night, ...more

18
James Baldwin is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
Dec. at 63 (1924-1987) James Arthur Baldwin was an American novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic. His essays, as collected in Notes of a Native Son, explore palpable yet unspoken intricacies of ...more

19
Neil Simon is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
age 90 Marvin Neil Simon was an American playwright, screenwriter and author. He wrote more than 30 plays and nearly the same number of movie screenplays, mostly adaptations of his plays. He received ...more

20
Peter Stormare is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
age 64 Rolf Peter Ingvar Storm, known professionally as Peter Stormare, is a Swedish actor, voice actor, theatre director, playwright, and musician. He is probably best known in the United States for ...more

21
Larry Kramer is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
age 82 Larry Kramer is an American playwright, author, public health advocate, and LGBT rights activist. He began his career rewriting scripts while working for Columbia Pictures, which led him to ...more

22
Arthur Laurents is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
Dec. at 94 (1917-2011) Arthur Laurents was an American playwright, stage director and screenwriter. After writing scripts for radio shows after college and then training films for the U.S. Army during World War II, ...more

23
Joyce Carol Oates is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
age 79 Joyce Carol Oates is an American author. Oates published her first book in 1963 and has since published over forty novels, as well as a number of plays and novellas, and many volumes of short ...more

24
Wallace Shawn is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
age 74 Wallace Michael "Wally" Shawn is an American stand-up comedian, actor, singer, dancer, playwright, essayist, and voice artist, best known for appearing in films, such as Wally Shawn in ...more

25
Robert Anton Wilson is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
Dec. at 75 (1932-2007) Robert Anton Wilson was an American author, novelist, essayist, editor, playwright, poet, futurist, psychologist, and self-described agnostic mystic. Recognized as an Episkopos, Pope, and saint ...more

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Charles Busch is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
age 63 Charles Louis Busch is an American actor, screenwriter, playwright and female impersonator, known for his appearances on stage in his own camp style plays and in film and television. He wrote ...more

27
Frank O'Hara is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
Dec. at 40 (1926-1966) Francis Russell "Frank" O'Hara was an American writer, poet and art critic. Because of his employment as a curator at the Museum of Modern Art, O'Hara became prominent in New York ...more

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Thornton Wilder is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
Dec. at 78 (1897-1975) Thornton Niven Wilder was an American playwright and novelist. He won three Pulitzer Prizes—for the novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey and for the two plays Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth—and ...more

29
George M. Cohan is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
Dec. at 64 (1878-1942) George Michael Cohan, known professionally as George M. Cohan, was an American entertainer, playwright, composer, lyricist, actor, singer, dancer and producer. Cohan began his career as a child, ...more

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Spalding Gray is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
Dec. at 63 (1941-2004) Spalding Rockwell Gray was an American actor and writer. He is known for the autobiographical monologues that he wrote and performed for the theater in the 1980s and 1990s. Theater critics John ...more

31
Richard Rodgers is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
Dec. at 77 (1902-1979) Richard Charles Rodgers was an American composer of music for more than 900 songs and for 43 Broadway musicals. He also composed music for films and television. He is best known for his ...more

32
David Mamet is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
age 70 David Alan Mamet is an American playwright, essayist, screenwriter, and film director. As a playwright, Mamet has won a Pulitzer Prize and received Tony nominations for Glengarry Glen Ross and ...more

33
Norman Mailer is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
Dec. at 84 (1923-2007) Norman Kingsley Mailer was an American novelist, journalist, essayist, playwright, film-maker, actor and political activist. His first novel, The Naked and the Dead, was published in 1948. His ...more

34
Jeff Daniels is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
age 63 Jeffrey Warren "Jeff" Daniels is an American actor, musician, and playwright. He founded a nonprofit theater company, the Purple Rose Theatre Company, in his home state of Michigan. He ...more

35
Bob Mould is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
age 57 Robert Arthur "Bob" Mould is an American musician, principally known for his work as guitarist, vocalist and songwriter for alternative rock bands Hüsker Dü in the 1980s and

36
Frankie Avalon is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
age 77 Frankie Avalon is an American actor, singer, playwright, and former teen idol.

37
Cormac McCarthy is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
age 84 Cormac McCarthy is an American novelist, playwright, and screenwriter. He has written ten novels, spanning the southern gothic, western, and post-apocalyptic genres. He won the Pulitzer Prize ...more

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Eugene O'Neill is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
Dec. at 65 (1888-1953) Eugene Gladstone O'Neill was an American playwright and Nobel laureate in Literature. His poetically titled plays were among the first to introduce into American drama techniques of realism ...more

39
Mimi Imfurst is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
age 35 Mimi Imfurst is an American drag performer, actor and recording artist. She appeared on the third season of RuPaul's Drag Race and RuPaul's All Stars Drag Race and is a founding member of the ...more

40
Ossie Davis is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
Dec. at 88 (1917-2005) Ossie Davis was an American film, television and Broadway actor, director, poet, playwright, author, and social activist.

41
Ben Hecht is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
Dec. at 70 (1894-1964) Ben Hecht was an American screenwriter, director, producer, playwright, journalist and novelist. He received screen credits, alone or in collaboration, for the stories or screenplays of some ...more

42
Tony Kushner is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
age 61 Anthony Robert "Tony" Kushner is an American playwright and screenwriter. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1993 for his play Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National ...more

43
Craig Lucas is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
age 66 Craig Lucas is an American playwright, screenwriter, theatre director, musical actor, and film director.

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Arthur Miller is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
Dec. at 90 (1915-2005) Arthur Asher Miller was a prolific American playwright, essayist, and prominent figure in twentieth-century American theatre. Among his most popular plays are All My Sons, Death of a Salesman, ...more

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Andy Milligan is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
Dec. at 62 (1929-1991) Andy Milligan was an American playwright, screenwriter, cinematographer, actor, film editor, producer, and director, whose work includes 27 films made between 1965 and 1988.

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P. G. Wodehouse is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
Dec. at 94 (1881-1975) Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, KBE was an English humourist whose body of work includes novels, short stories, plays, humorous verses, poems, song lyrics, and magazine articles. He enjoyed ...more

47
Alan Ball is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
age 60 Alan E. Ball is an American writer, director, and producer for television, film, and theatre. He is particularly notable for writing American Beauty and True Blood and for creating Six Feet ...more

48
Howard Ashman is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
Dec. at 41 (1950-1991) Howard Elliott Ashman was an American playwright and lyricist. Ashman first studied at Boston University and Goddard College and then went on to achieve his master's degree from Indiana ...more

49
Terrence McNally is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
age 79 Terrence McNally is an American playwright. One of theatre's most important playwrights today, he has received the Tony Award for Best Play for Love! Valour! Compassion! and Master Class, as ...more

50
Lorenz Hart is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
Dec. at 48 (1895-1943) Lorenz Milton Hart was the lyricist half of the Broadway songwriting team Rodgers and Hart. Some of his more famous lyrics include "Blue Moon," "Mountain Greenery," "The ...more