Page last updated at 09:02 GMT, Friday, 28 November 2008

Miracle writer Gibson dies at 94

William Gibson
William Gibson was born in New York's Bronx and originally wrote for TV

US playwright William Gibson, whose The Miracle Worker documented the story of deaf-blind student Helen Keller, has died in Massachusetts aged 94.

Gibson wrote 12 plays, but The Miracle Worker, which followed teacher Annie Sullivan's relationship with Keller, endeared him to critics and the public.

It won Tony Awards in 1960 for best play, best director, while Anne Bancroft was named best actress.

The 1962 film won Oscars for Bancroft and 12-year-old co-star Patty Duke.

Gibson and director Arthur Penn were also nominated for Academy Awards.


The events described in The Miracle Worker occurred in 1887, when Sullivan became six-year-old Keller's teacher, spelling into her hand and helping her to understand language.

With Sullivan at her side, Keller became a world-famous author and humanitarian.

The Miracle Worker, which opened on Broadway in 1959, came a year after Gibson's first professionally-produced play, Two for the Seesaw, about a straight-laced lawyer who falls in love with a dancer.

The act of writing makes everything possible to me
William Gibson

The production won Bancroft her first Tony.

It was later turned into a film, starring Robert Mitchum and Shirley MacLaine.

Gibson was also nominated for a Tony in 1965 as co-author of Golden Boy, a musical version of the play by Clifford Odets starring Sammy Davis Jr.

His last Broadway play was 2003's Golda Balcony, a one-woman show starring Tovah Feldshuh as Israeli prime minister Golda Meir during the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

"The act of writing makes everything possible to me," Gibson said in a 2003 interview with the Associated Press.

"I've always found the business of writing has helped me to live."

He died on Tuesday in his home town of Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

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