Mel Gussow, Famed Drama Critic, Dies at 71

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By: The Associated Press

Mel Gussow, a New York Times drama critic and cultural reporter who showed an eye for undiscovered talent, has died. He was 71.

Gussow died Friday at a Manhattan hospital, the Times reported on its Web site Saturday. He died of cancer, his son told the newspaper.

Gussow joined the Times in 1971 after working for Newsweek, where in his first Broadway review he raved about Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” He continued a friendship with Albee and later wrote a biography of the playwright.

Gussow had a knack for discovering talent in the bud, often by focusing much further off Broadway than other critics. He is credited with bringing attention to playwrights from Sam Shepard to David Mamet and screen actors from Kevin Kline to Meryl Streep.

“He was right on target on all the interesting playwrights I was hearing about,” Albee told the Times. “His care about exploring writers, especially young playwrights, was so useful.”

Gussow wrote eight books, including a series of four on his conversations with Arthur Miller, Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter, and Tom Stoppard.

He is survived by his wife, Ann Gussow; his son, Ethan Gussow; and a brother, Paul Gussow.

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