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Arthur Penn's Broadway legacy

September 29, 2010 |  3:00 pm

Penn Arthur Penn, who died this week at age 88, will always be remembered for his film work, especially for directing the groundbreaking "Bonnie and Clyde."

But Penn belonged to that increasingly rare breed of directors who felt at home on the stage and the movie set, who jumped between Broadway and Hollywood with apparent ease and who left a substantial mark in both mediums.

Penn racked up a number of Broadway hits during his long career and worked a number of times with playwright William Gibson, whose drama "The Miracle Worker" won Penn a Tony Award in 1960. The director would go on to make the 1962 film version of the play starring Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke, both of whom also appeared in the Broadway production.

Penn's other directorial stage credits include "Toys in the Attic," "All the Way Home," "An Evening With Mike Nichols and Elaine May" and the Sammy Davis Jr. musical "Golden Boy." 

In 2002, following a long absence from the Broadway stage, Penn made a comeback directing Ivan Turgenev's "Fortune's Fool," starring Alan Bates and Frank Langella. The production was a critical success and scored Tonys for its two actors.

Penn's final Broadway outing as a director came with the 2004 revival of Larry Gelbart's "Sly Fox," a comedy based on the classic "Volpone" that Penn had originally directed in 1976.

Read the full Times obituary of Arthur Penn.

-- David Ng

Photo: Arthur Penn. Credit: Jose Mendez / EPA