Israel Horovitz, Playwright and Gloucester Stage Co-Founder at Center of Several Sexual Assault Allegations, Dies at 81

Obituaries   Israel Horovitz, Playwright and Gloucester Stage Co-Founder at Center of Several Sexual Assault Allegations, Dies at 81
 
Mr. Horovitz resigned from Gloucester Stage Company in 2017 after nine women came forward.
Israel Horovitz
Israel Horovitz

Israel Horovitz, whose theatre career and legacy as a playwright and director effectively ended with a string of sexual assault allegations dating back to the 1980s, died November 9 at the age of 81. His wife, Gillian Horovitz, confirmed his death following a cancer battle to The New York Times.

Mr. Horovitz co-founded Massachusetts' Gloucester Stage Company in 1979 alongside Geoff Richon and Denny Blodget. He served as artistic director until 2006. In 2017, amid the #MeToo movement and the reckoning of longstanding and institutionalized misconduct, he stepped down from his position as an ex-officio member of the board of directors. The announcement followed the publication of allegations from nine women who had detailed instances of misconduct and abuse.

The recent wave of allegations was preceded by a 1993 report in the Boston Phoenix that featured accusations from 10 women, which were ultimately dismissed by the board.

As a playwright, Mr. Horovitz crafted such works as The Indian Wants the Bronx, which earned him an Obie Award in 1968 for the Al Pacino-led Off-Broadway production. He was produced on Broadway twice: first in 1968—hot off his Off-Broadway success—with the one-act "Morning" (as part of the triple bill Morning, Noon and Night), followed by the 1991 production of his two-hander Park Your Car in Harvard Yard.

A revival of his 1967 play Line ran at the 13th Street Repertory Theatre from 1974 to 2018, making it one of the longest-running Off-Off-Broadway productions.

Born March 31, 1939, Mr. Horovitz briefly attended Salem Teachers College before pursuing a career as a playwright. The shift included studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in the U.K.

He would return to Europe later in his career, as the most-produced American playwright in France.

In remembering their co-founder, Gloucester Stage acknowledged the allegations that led to his departure from the organization, while also noting his "nuanced and profound" contributions as a writer and its continued mission to present "socially relevant and intellectually stimulating theatre."

In addition to his wife Gillian, Mr. Horovitz is survived by children Rachael, Matthew, Adam, Hannah, Oliver, and Julie.