Elizabeth Becker Henley was born on May 8, 1952, in Jackson,
Mississippi. Growing up, Henley always dreamed of becoming an
actress. After graduating from highschool, she attended Southern
Methodist University where she wrote her first play, a one-act
entitled Am I Blue which was produced at SMU's Margo Jones
Theatre in 1973.
Henley's first professionally produced play, Crimes of
the Heart, was the co-winner of the 1979 Great American Play
Contest sponsored by the Actors Theatre of Louisville. A black
comedy about three sisters, one of whom has just shot her husband,
Crimes of the Heart then moved to New York where it won
the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the New York Drama Critics Circle
Award for Best American Play of 1981.
Henley's other plays include The Wake of Jamey Foster
(1982), Am I Blue (1982), The Miss Firecracker Contest
(1984), The Debutante Ball (1985), The Lucky Spot
(1986), Abundance (1990), Control Freaks (1992),
Signature (1995), L-Play (1996), and Impossible
In addition to her stage plays, Ms. Henley has written a number
of screenplays including the acclaimed film version of Crimes
of the Heart which was nominated for an Academy Award and
featured Diane Keaton, Jessica Lange, Sissy Spacek, and Sam Shepard.
Other screenplays by Henley include Miss Firecracker starring
Holly Hunter, Mary Steenburgen, and Tim Robbins, and Nobody's
Fool starring Rosanna Arquette and Eric Roberts. She also
collaborated on True Stories (1986) with Steven Trobolowsky
and David Byrne, the lead singer of the Talking Heads who directed
and starred in the film.
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