Jack Gelber

Jack Gelber


Jack Gelber, who wrote one of the seminal sensations of Off-Broadway's early years, The Connection, died May 9, 2003, at his Manhattan home of Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia, a cancer of the blood, reported Associated Press. He was 71. When The Connection was produced by the Living Theatre in 1959, Mr. Gelber was a mere 26. The avant garde piece depicted a disparate community of junkies waiting in a rundown apartment for their dealer, Cowboy, to bring them a fix. Meanwhile, a group of film students prowled the aisles of the auditorium, shooting the action, telling themselves, "This is what this is like." In a corner of the stage, a jazz combo led by saxophonist Jackie McLean provided propulsive musical accompaniment and the right quasi-poetic, beatnik atmosphere. Other actors played the director and playwright of the piece, adding yet another level of reality.

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  • Born: Apr 12, 1932 in Chicago, Illinois
  • Death: May 9, 2003 in New York, NY, USA

Roles (2)


Drama Desk Award
1960 Vernon Rice Award The Connection Winner