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 49
Tyler Perry (born Emmitt Perry Jr.; September 13, 1969) is an American actor, playwright, filmmaker, and comedian. In 2011, Forbes listed him as the highest paid man in entertainment, earning ...more
2
Steve Martin is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
age 73
Stephen Glenn Martin (born August 14, 1945) is an American actor, comedian, writer, filmmaker, and musician. Martin came to public notice in the 1960s as a writer for The Smothers Brothers ...more
3
Woody Allen is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
age 83
Heywood "Woody" Allen (born December 1, 1935) is an American director, writer, actor, and comedian whose career spans more than six decades. He began his career as a comedy writer in ...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 ( (listen); born Marguerite Annie Johnson; April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014) was an American poet, singer, memoirist, and civil rights activist. She published seven autobiographies, ...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 (; born Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum; February 2 [O.S. January 20] 1905 – March 6, 1982) was a Russian-American writer and philosopher. She is known for her two best-selling novels, The ...more
6
Lewis Black is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
age 70
Lewis Niles Black (born August 30, 1948) is an American stand-up comedian, author, playwright, social critic, voice actor, and actor. He is best known for his angry demeanour and belligerent ...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 (May 6, 1915 – October 10, 1985) was an American actor, director, writer and producer who is remembered for his innovative work in radio, theatre and film. He is considered ...more
8
Gore Vidal is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
Dec. at 87 (1925-2012)
Eugene Luther Gore Vidal (; born Eugene Louis Vidal, October 3, 1925 – July 31, 2012) was an American writer and public intellectual known for his patrician manner, epigrammatic wit, and ...more
9
Lisa Edelstein is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
age 52
Lisa Edelstein (; born May 21, 1967) is an American actress and playwright. Edelstein is known for playing Dr. Lisa Cuddy on the Fox medical drama series House. Between 2014 and 2018, she ...more
10
Harvey Fierstein is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
age 64
Harvey Forbes Fierstein ( FIRE-steen; born June 6, 1954) 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 ...more
11
Laurence Fishburne is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
age 57
Laurence John Fishburne III (born July 30, 1961) is an American actor, playwright, producer, screenwriter, and film director. He is known for playing Morpheus in The Matrix trilogy, Jason ...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 (August 17, 1893 – November 22, 1980) was an American actress, singer, playwright, screenwriter, comedian, and sex symbol whose entertainment career spanned seven ...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 Williams III (March 26, 1911 – February 25, 1983), known by his pen name Tennessee Williams, was an American playwright. Along with contemporaries Eugene O'Neill and Arthur Miller, ...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 (March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963) was an American poet. His work was initially published in England before it was published in America. Known for his realistic depictions of ...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 (February 1, 1902 – May 22, 1967) was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist from Joplin, Missouri. He moved to New York City as a ...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 (August 24, 1922 – January 27, 2010) was an American historian, playwright, and socialist thinker. He was chair of the history and social sciences department at Spelman College, and ...more
17
Aaron Sorkin is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
age 57
Aaron Benjamin Sorkin (born June 9, 1961) is an American screenwriter, director, producer, and playwright. His works include the Broadway plays A Few Good Men, The Farnsworth Invention and To ...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 (August 2, 1924 – December 1, 1987) was an American novelist, playwright, and activist. His essays, as collected in Notes of a Native Son (1955), explore intricacies of ...more
19
Neil Simon is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
age 91
Marvin Neil Simon (July 4, 1927 – August 26, 2018) was an American playwright, screenwriter and author. He wrote more than 30 plays and nearly the same number of movie screenplays, mostly ...more
20
Peter Stormare is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
age 65
Peter Rolf Ingvar Storm (born 27 August 1953), known professionally as Peter Stormare (Swedish pronunciation: [ˈpeːtɛr ²stɔrːˌmarɛ] (listen)), is a Swedish actor, voice actor, theatre ...more
21
Larry Kramer is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
age 83
Larry Kramer (born June 25, 1935) is an American playwright, author, film producer, public health advocate, and LGBT rights activist. He began his career rewriting scripts while working for ...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 (July 14, 1917 – May 5, 2011) was an American playwright, stage director and screenwriter.After writing scripts for radio shows after college and then training films for the U.S. ...more
23
Joyce Carol Oates is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
age 80
Joyce Carol Oates (born June 16, 1938) is an American writer. Oates published her first book in 1962 and has since published 58 novels, as well as a number of plays and novellas, and many ...more
24
Wallace Shawn is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States
age 72
Wallace Michael Shawn (born November 12, 1943) is an American character actor, voice artist, playwright and essayist. His film roles have included those of Wally Shawn (a fictionalized version ...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 (born Robert Edward Wilson; January 18, 1932 – January 11, 2007) was an American author, novelist, essayist, editor, playwright, poet, futurist, and self-described agnostic ...more