Oscar Artists: Screenwriter–Schisgal, Murray (“Tootsie”) Dies at 93

Murray Schisgal, ‘Luv’ Playwright and Oscar-Nominated ‘Tootsie’ Screenwriter, Dies at 93


Murray Schisgal

Murray Schisgal

He also wrote the screenplay for ‘The Tiger Makes Out,’ starring collaborators Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson.

Murray Schisgal, the comedy writer who received two Tony nominations for his work on the 1960s Broadway hit “Luv” and an Oscar nomination for his contribution to the screenplay for Tootsie, has died. He was 93.

Schisgal died Thursday in Port Chester, New York, his son, Zach, said.

Luv, a three-hander that opened in 1964 and ran for more than 900 performances, starred husband and wife Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson opposite Alan Arkin. Mike Nichols won the Tony for best direction of a play, with Schisgal nominated for best play and best author of a play.

Luv was then adapted for a 1967 movie directed by Clive Donner that featured Jack Lemmon, Elaine May and Peter Falk.

One of Many Writers of Tootsie

Schisgal became involved with Sydney Pollack’s Tootsie (1982) after working with Dustin Hoffman on Broadway in Jimmy Shine in the 1960s and All Over Town in the 1970s.  He was replaced on the film by Larry Gelbart, and they would share the Oscar nom for best original screenplay. (At least five other writers, including Elaine May and Barry Levinson, worked on the script.)

Schisgal also penned the screenplay for The Tiger Makes Out (1967), which was based on his play The Tiger that opened in London in 1961 and played off-Broadway. Wallace and Jackson starred on the stage and in the film.

Born in Brooklyn on November 25, 1926, Schisgal enlisted in the U.S. Navy at age 17. After the service, he earned his law degree and taught English in high school before pursuing a writing career.

In 1982, he, Wallach and Jackson reunited on Broadway for Twice Around the Park, a pair of one-act comedies.

Schisgal also produced the features A Walk on the Moon (1999) and Boys and Girls (2000) and wrote a 1980 novel, Days and Nights of a French Horn Player.

Survivors include his daughter, Jane, sister Diane and four grandchildren.