Playwright John Ford Noonan Dies at 77

Obituaries   Playwright John Ford Noonan Dies at 77
Mr. Noonan was best known for his Off-Broadway hit, A Coupla White Chicks Sitting Around Talking, starring Eileen Brennan and Susan Sarandon.
Eileen Brennan and Susan Sarandon in <i>A Coupla White Chicks Sitting Around Talking</i>
Eileen Brennan and Susan Sarandon in A Coupla White Chicks Sitting Around Talking Stephanie Saia

John Ford Noonan, best known for writing the two-hander A Coupla White Chicks Sitting Around Talking, passed away December 16 at the age of 77 from heart failure, according to The New York Times.

Mr. Noonan, who was born in Stamford, Connecticut, in 1941, received both a Bachelor of Arts from Brown University and a Masters in theatre arts from the Carnegie Institute of Technology. He taught high school Latin in Long Island while writing The Year Boston Won the Pennant, which, in 1969, would be his first play produced in New York—at Lincoln Center starring Roy Scheider.

Older People, produced at the Public Theater in 1972, and Getting Through the Night, seen in 1976, followed. But it was the aforementioned A Coupla White Chicks that became Noonan's biggest hit. Produced Off-Broadway at the Astor Place in 1980, the original production featured Susan Sarandon and Eileen Brennan. During its year-long run, other actors who stepped into the production included JoBeth Williams, Anne Archer, and Louise Lasser.

Mr. Noonan later addressed a “chemical addiction” in Some Men Need Help, which he subsequently adapted for PBS’ American Playhouse in 1985. He also utilized the two-actor format, which had been so successful for A Coupla White Chicks, in Talking Things Over with Chekhov. The latter, staged in 1990 at the Actors’ Playhouse, featured Mr. Noonan onstage opposite Diane Salinger.

The playwright also enjoyed success on screen, sharing a 1984 Emmy Award with Tom Fontana and John Masius for an episode of St. Elsewhere. As an actor, he was seen in Adventures in Babysitting, Flirting With Disaster, and My Divorce.

Mr. Noonan is survived by son Christopher Howell, daughter Jesse Sage Noonan, sister Dahlia Barbara Noonan, and five grandchildren.