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Famous Playwrights from the United States

Updated October 13, 2018 3.7k views846 items

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. {#nodes}
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  • 1
    Tyler Perry is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States

    BirthplaceNew Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America

    Tyler Perry (born Emmitt Perry Jr.; September 13, 1969) is an American actor, playwright,... more on Wikipedia

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  • 2
    Steve Martin is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States

    BirthplaceWaco, Texas, United States of America

    Stephen Glenn Martin (born August 14, 1945) is an American actor, comedian, writer, filmmaker,... more on Wikipedia

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  • 3
    Woody Allen is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York, United States of America

    Heywood "Woody" Allen (born December 1, 1935) is an American director, writer, actor, and... more on Wikipedia

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  • 4
    Maya Angelou is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States

    Maya Angelou

    Dec. at 86 (1928-2014)

    BirthplaceSt. Louis, Missouri, United States of America

    Maya Angelou ( (listen); born Marguerite Annie Johnson; April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014) was an... more on Wikipedia
  • 5
    Ayn Rand is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States

    Ayn Rand

    Dec. at 77 (1905-1982)

    BirthplaceSaint Petersburg, Russia

    Ayn Rand (; born Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum; February 2 [O.S. January 20] 1905 – March 6,... more on Wikipedia

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  • 6
    Lewis Black is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States

    BirthplaceMontgomery County, United States of America, United States, with Territories, Silver Spring

    Lewis Niles Black (born August 30, 1948) is an American stand-up comedian, author, playwright,... more on Wikipedia

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  • 7
    Orson Welles is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States

    Orson Welles

    Dec. at 70 (1915-1985)

    BirthplaceKenosha, Wisconsin, United States of America

    George Orson Welles (May 6, 1915 – October 10, 1985) was an American actor, director, writer... more on Wikipedia

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  • 8
    Gore Vidal is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States

    Gore Vidal

    Dec. at 87 (1925-2012)

    BirthplaceWest Point, Contiguous United States, New York, Orange County, United States of America

    Eugene Luther Gore Vidal (; born Eugene Louis Vidal, October 3, 1925 – July 31, 2012) was an... more on Wikipedia
  • 9
    Lisa Edelstein is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States

    BirthplaceBoston, Massachusetts, United States of America

    Lisa Edelstein (; born May 21, 1967) is an American actress and playwright. Edelstein is known... more on Wikipedia

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  • 10
    Harvey Fierstein is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York, United States of America

    Harvey Forbes Fierstein ( FIRE-steen; born June 6, 1954) is an American actor, playwright, and... more on Wikipedia

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  • 11
    Laurence Fishburne is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States

    BirthplaceAugusta, Georgia, United States of America

    Laurence John Fishburne III (born July 30, 1961) is an American actor, playwright, producer,... more on Wikipedia

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  • 12
    Mae West is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States

    Mae West

    Age: Died at 87 (1893-1980)

    BirthplaceBushwick, New York City, New York, United States of America

    Mary Jane "Mae" West (August 17, 1893 – November 22, 1980) was an American actress, singer,... more on Wikipedia

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  • 13
    Tennessee Williams is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States

    Tennessee Williams

    Dec. at 72 (1911-1983)

    BirthplaceColumbus, Mississippi, Lowndes County, United States of America, United States

    Thomas Lanier Williams III (March 26, 1911 – February 25, 1983), known by his pen name... more on Wikipedia

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  • 14
    Robert Frost is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States

    Robert Frost

    Dec. at 89 (1874-1963)

    BirthplaceCalifornia

    Robert Lee Frost (March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963) was an American poet. His work was... more on Wikipedia
  • 15
    Langston Hughes is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States

    Langston Hughes

    Dec. at 65 (1902-1967)

    BirthplaceNewton County, United States of America, United States, with Territories, Jasper County

    James Mercer Langston Hughes (February 1, 1902 – May 22, 1967) was an American poet, social... more on Wikipedia

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  • 16
    Howard Zinn is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States

    Howard Zinn

    Dec. at 88 (1922-2010)

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York, United States of America

    Howard Zinn (August 24, 1922 – January 27, 2010) was an American historian, playwright, and... more on Wikipedia

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  • 17
    Aaron Sorkin is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States

    BirthplaceNew York City, Manhattan, USA, New York

    Aaron Benjamin Sorkin (born June 9, 1961) is an American screenwriter, director, producer, and... more on Wikipedia

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  • 18
    James Baldwin is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States

    James Baldwin

    Dec. at 63 (1924-1987)

    BirthplaceHarlem, New York City, New York

    James Arthur Baldwin (August 2, 1924 – December 1, 1987) was an American novelist, playwright,... more on Wikipedia
  • 19
    Neil Simon is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States

    Neil Simon

    Age: 93

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York, United States of America

    Marvin Neil Simon (July 4, 1927 – August 26, 2018) was an American playwright, screenwriter... more on Wikipedia

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  • 20
    Peter Stormare is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States

    BirthplaceKumla, Sweden

    Peter Rolf Ingvar Storm (born 27 August 1953), known professionally as Peter Stormare (Swedish... more on Wikipedia

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  • 21
    Larry Kramer is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States

    BirthplaceEastern United States, Fairfield County, New England, Connecticut, United States of America

    Larry Kramer (born June 25, 1935) is an American playwright, author, film producer, public... more on Wikipedia
  • 22
    Arthur Laurents is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States

    Arthur Laurents

    Age: Died at 94 (1917-2011)

    BirthplaceNew York City, USA, New York

    Arthur Laurents (July 14, 1917 – May 5, 2011) was an American playwright, stage director and... more on Wikipedia
  • 23
    Joyce Carol Oates is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States

    BirthplaceLockport, New York

    Joyce Carol Oates (born June 16, 1938) is an American writer. Oates published her first book... more on Wikipedia
  • 24
    Wallace Shawn is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York, United States of America

    Wallace Michael Shawn (born November 12, 1943) is an American character actor, voice artist,... more on Wikipedia

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  • 25
    Robert Anton Wilson is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Famous Playwrights from the United States

    Robert Anton Wilson

    Dec. at 75 (1932-2007)

    BirthplaceNew York City, USA, New York

    Robert Anton Wilson (born Robert Edward Wilson; January 18, 1932 – January 11, 2007) was an... more on Wikipedia

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