(Paris) The American playwright Israel Horovitz, author of dozens of internationally successful plays, died Monday at the age of 81, we learned from his agent in Paris on Wednesday.
In 2017, he was accused of sexual assault by nine women, one of them even claiming to have been raped, in a lengthy account by the New York Times. Mr. Horovitz did not dispute the facts, nevertheless suggesting that it was a consensual relationship.
Figure of “off Broadway”, the playwright died of cancer at his home in New York, said his agent.
Born in Massachusetts, he was the most adapted American playwright in the history of French theater.
It was performed in the most important halls of the country, with pieces interpreted by Gérard Depardieu, Pierre Arditi or Line Renaud, such as the success Dearest Mathilde, sold out in Marigny in 2009.
In total, he will have written more than 70 pieces, some of which have been translated into some thirty languages, such as The first, The Indian seeks the Bronx or Somewhere in this life.
He was known for his style ranging from realism to parable, from fable to myth. His pieces have been brought to the screen by Al Pacino, Jill Clayburgh and Diane Keaton.
He has also written around thirty screenplays for cinema, including Strawberries and blood, Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 1970 or, more recently, My Old Lady (2015), with Maggie Smith and Kristin Scott Thomas, which he also directed and which was shot in 2013 in Paris, where he lived for a long time.
Designated by the critics as the spiritual son of the American playwright Arthur Miller, friend of Genet and Beckett, he had been nicknamed “our sweet American thug” by the Franco-Romanian playwright, Eugene Ionesco.
In 2011 his autobiography A New Yorker in Paris was published by Grasset. A year later, he was made Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters, highest decoration of the Order of Arts and Letters.
In November 2017, nine women accused him of sexual assault in an article published by the New York Times.
His alleged victims described a man who liked to position himself as a mentor, even if it meant taking advantage of the situation and initiating unsolicited physical contact.
Israel Horovitz had apologized, via the New York Times, nevertheless suggesting that the relations were consensual, according to him.
The playwright’s son, Adam Horovitz, alias Ad-Rock, founding member of The Beastie Boys trio, one of the most influential groups in rap history, told the New York daily that he believed the women mentioned speak Times.
It appears, after consulting federal court databases and New York State databases, that no legal action has been taken on these charges.
It appeared that a Boston journalist had, as early as 1993, written a long article featuring the testimony of six women, also accusing the author of sexual harassment, touching and forced kissing.
All of these women worked for the Gloucester Stage Company, a theater company co-founded by Israel Horovitz in 1979. After the publication of the article in New York Times, the author was forced to resign from his duties with the company.
In 1993, the chairman of the board of directors of the Gloucester Stage Company had played down the facts, although they had been directly reported to him by several alleged victims, and had taken no action on the charges.