Playwright William Alfred, who died at 76 in Cambridge May 20, will be memorialized in a new society bearing his name, it has just been announced.
Alfred wrote Hogan's Goat, which helped raise Faye Dunaway to stardom and won a Drama Desk Award in New York in 1966, along with other plays including an Agamemnon and The Curse of an Aching Heart. As a vital and beloved force in Boston's theatrical community for half a century, he taught playwriting for many years at Harvard and mentored many fledgling writers right up until his death.
In order to perpetuate his "indelible legacy of wisdom, teaching, and spirit," former students are endowing and chartering the William Alfred Society for Arts and Letters, which will be based in the professor's Cambridge home. The society will foster creativity and intellectual dialogue among aspiring writers and scholars, involving not only members of the Harvard community but also visiting professionals, and will maintain Alfred's home as an archival site for playwrights and other writers along with scholars-in-residence.
Born in Brooklyn, Alfred graduated from Brooklyn College, and earned a master's and Ph.D. at Harvard. He joined the Harvard faculty in 1954, and became the Lowell Professor of the Humanities in 1980, retiring in 1991 but continuing to tutor a few students. His honors included an award from the New York Drama Desk and an honorary degree from the University of San Diego. He was a member of the Dramatists Guild and Phi Beta Kappa.
Those who wish to help in furthering the aims of the enterprise may send donations to the William Alfred Society, care of Rex Dean, 315 Bacon Street, Waltham MA 02451. -- by Caldwell Titcomb
Special to Playbill On-Line by permission of author