Beth Henley

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 Marriage (1998).

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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Henley's Plays  |  Henley's Films


Henley's Plays

Henley's Films

Related Sites

American Theatre Index

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