Elder, Lonne, III

▪ 1997

      U.S. playwright whose critically acclaimed masterwork, Ceremonies in Dark Old Men (1965; revised, 1969), depicted the frustrations of a disenfranchised African-American family living in the Harlem neighbourhood of New York City in the 1950s (b. Dec. 26, 1931—d. June 11, 1996).

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▪ American playwright
born December 26, 1931, Americus, Georgia, U.S.
died June 11, 1996, Woodland Hills, California

      American playwright whose critically acclaimed masterwork, Ceremonies in Dark Old Men (1965, revised 1969), depicted the dreams, frustrations, and ultimate endurance of a black family living in the Harlem neighbourhood of New York City in the 1950s.

      Orphaned as a boy, Elder was raised in New Jersey by an aunt and an uncle who ran a numbers game (i.e., an illegal lottery) out of their home. As a young man, he moved to New York City, where he worked a number of odd jobs while learning the acting trade and writing poems, short stories, and, finally, plays. From 1959 to 1962 he played the role of Bobo in the classic drama A Raisin in the Sun, at the personal invitation of its author, Lorraine Hansberry (Hansberry, Lorraine).

      Ceremonies in Dark Old Men was presented as a dramatic reading in 1965 and then produced for the stage by the Negro Ensemble Company in 1969. The drama centres on the fractured Parker family, whose aging patriarch dreams of lost youth while his daughter toils at a dead-end office job, his two hustling sons sell bootleg liquor and engage in petty thievery, and a smooth-talking con artist runs numbers out of their decrepit barber shop. The play enjoyed instantaneous success, bringing Elder many prizes and being produced for television in 1975.

      By that time Elder had moved to Los Angeles, where he wrote scripts for television shows, for the motion picture Sounder (1972; Academy Award nominee for best screenplay), and for A Woman Called Moses (1978), a television miniseries based on the life of abolitionist Harriet Tubman (Tubman, Harriet). Elders's only other play to be staged, Charades on East Fourth Street (1967), was produced for a New York social service agency.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Lonne Elder III — (December 26 1927 ndash; June 11 1996) was an American actor, playwright and screenwriter. In 1973, he along with Suzanne De Passe became the first African Americans to be nominated for the Academy Award for writing. [… …   Wikipedia

  • Christian Edward Elder — (born September 7, 1970) is an American poet. Born in New York City, New York, Elder is the son of screenwriter/playwright Lonne Elder III.[1] A filmmaker, a performer, a visual artist, and producer of spoken word events, Elder attended the Rhode …   Wikipedia

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  • Sounder — Infobox Book name = Sounder title orig = translator = image caption = author = William H. Armstrong illustrator = cover artist = James Ransome country = Canada language = English series = genre = Children s publisher = HarperTrophy release date …   Wikipedia

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  • Suzanne de Passe — (born 1947) is an American entertainment executive; the CEO of television production company de Passe Entertainment; and the first and only African American woman to be nominated for an Academy Award for writing.De Passe was born in New York City …   Wikipedia

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