Award-winning playwright Terrence McNally, who played Dr. Robert Lynch on The Young and the Restless in the early 90s, died in Florida of complications from coronavirus, says his husband, Tom Kirdahy. He was 81.
Known as one of America's great playwrights and responsible for shows like Kiss of the Spider Woman, Master Class, Frankie and Johnny, and Love! Valour! Compassion!, McNally was a lung cancer survivor and had lived with a chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD).
In addition to writing more than three dozen plays in his nearly 60-year career, the Florida native had a few acting gigs, including small roles on shows like CHiPs, The Rousters, and Tenspeed and Brown Shoe. However, daytime fans may remember him as Y&R's Robert Lynch, a dentist who abused his wife, April Stevens (Cindy Eilbacher), in a storyline that played out from 1993 to 1994. As viewers may recall, April fatally stabbed Robert with a letter opener, and Christine Blair (Lauralee Bell) and John Silva (John Castellanos) helped her get an acquittal via a self-defense plea.
McNally was the recipient of numerous awards throughout his illustrious career, including a Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement (2018), the Dramatists Guild Lifetime Achievement Award (2019), a Primetime Emmy Award in the Outstanding Writing in a Miniseries or Special for American Playhouse (1990), and several Tony Awards in various categories. In 2018, he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, known as the highest recognition of artistic merit in the United States, and in 1996, he was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.
Tributes to the playwright have begun pouring in on Twitter, including one from stage luminary Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote, "Heartbroken over the loss of Terrence McNally, a giant in our world, who straddled plays and musicals deftly. Grateful for his staggering body of work and his unfailing kindness."
Seinfeld actor Jason Alexander also noted McNally's passing, writing, "I worked for and with Terrence McNally twice in my life and they were two of the greatest experiences I've ever had. His work was vital, intense, hysterical and rare. My hope is that he will inspire writers for years to come."
And George Takei shared a post about the playwright: "Terrence McNally was a legend among legends on Broadway. If you are an actor, there's a good chance you have performed one of his works. If not, you surely will in your career, he was that prolific and gifted. Ah, my heart breaks at the news!"
McNally is survived by his husband Tom Kirdahy, a Broadway producer and a former civil rights attorney for not-for-profit AIDS organizations.
Would you like to leave a message of condolence on McNally's passing? What do you remember from his time as Y&R's Robert? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.