Edward Gorey, whose name aptly described his art, died Saturday, April 15, in Hyannis, MA, according to the New York Times. He was 75 and had, for many years, lived in Cape Cod.
Gorey was one of the world's best known illustrators, a successor to Charles Addams with his eerie, gallows humor, black and white drawings. Accompanying text, often written by Gorey (though he also illustrated the books of many other authors) was no less creepy, detailing the untimely and unlikely deaths of small, foolish children, or the habits of an unidentifiable beast who comes to visit a family and stays and stays. It was only appropriate that Gorey, who was born in Chicago in 1925, was called upon to create an animated introduction to the PBS series "Mystery." In the well-known intro, a funereal urn grows roses, Victorian figures play croquet in the rain, and the rowboat depicted on a mysterious lady's hand fan goes from showing two figures to -- after a clap of thunder -- only one.
That Gorey was asked to design the sets and costumes for a Broadway 1977 revival of Dracula surprised, perhaps, no one. That is became a hit, and made a star out of Frank Langella, was a bit more startling. Gorey designed each scene in his patented scratchy black and white style (albeit, with a dash of red), making the play look every inch the Gothic fantasy it is. Gorey won a Tony Award for his costumes and the show went on to run 925 performances at the Martin Beck Theatre. The production was subsequently staged in London, with Terence Stamp playing the Count.
Theatrical talents continued to draw on Gorey's sense of wicked fancy from time to time, but with less success. Other revues adapted from his work include Gorey Stories, Tinned Lettuce and Amphigorey. The last, written and designed by Gorey, ran 50 performances in 1994 at the Perry Street Theatre.
Gorey wrote more than 100 books, including "The Doubtful Guest," "The Gashlycrumb Tinies," and "The Loathsome Couple." --By Robert Simonson