Peter Masterson, the co-writer and co-director behind the 1978 hit musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, has died at age 84. The cause was complications of Parkinson's disease, according to his son.
An actor who had appeared in films ranging from The Exorcist to In the Heat of the Night and The Stepford Wives, Masterson collaborated with Larry L. King and songwriter Carol Hall to adapt King's 1974 Playboy article about the demise of long-running Texas brothel the Chicken Ranch. Masterson also co-directed the Broadway show with Tommy Tune, leading to a Broadway run of 1,584 performances, a movie adaptation starring Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds, and a short-lived 1994 Broadway sequel, The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public. (King, who died in 2012, chronicled their adventures in writing a Broadway musical in his book The Whorehouse Papers.)
The show also earned eight Tony Award nominations, taking home two, including one for Carlin Glynn, Masterson's wife. Masterson won that year's Drama Desk Award for directing, sharing it with Tune.
Masterson had previously appeared on Broadway in Marathon '33, The Great White Hope, and as a replacement performer in That Championship Season. After The Best Little Whorehouse, Masterson continued to act and made his directorial feature film debut with 1985's The Trip to Bountiful, for which Geraldine Page took home the Academy Award for Best Actress. His last directorial effort was 2005's Whiskey School.
Born in Houston, Masterson is survived by his wife, Carlin Glynn Masterson, children Peter Carlos Bee Masterson, Alexandra Masterson, and Mary Stuart Masterson, and six grandchildren.