Arthur Laurents, the legendary American playwright best known for penning the classic musical 'West Side Story', has passed away at the aged of 93, reports the Associated Press. Arthur Laurents died at his home in Manhattan from complications relating to pneumonia, according to his agent Jonathan Lomma.
Laurents was also a respected Hollywood screenwriter, but had his biggest successes on Broadway. Two of his musicals, 'Gypsy' and 'West Side Story', are regarded as the finest ever written. The latter opened on Broadway in 1957 and explored the rivalry of two New York City gangs, the Sharks and the Jets. The musical featured a memorable jazz score by Leonard Bernstein and choreography from Jerome Robbins. 'Gypsy', which opened in 1959 and told the story of stripper Gypsy Rose Lee, has been successfully revived four times, the most recent of which starred Bernadette Peters in 2003. Laurents was equally formidable in Hollywood, writing Alfred Hitchcock's 1948 movie 'Rope' and 'The Snake Pit', starring Olivia de Havilland. He had his biggest movie success in the 1970's, first writing 'The Way We Were', starring Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford and then penning the script for 'The Turning Point', with Shirley Maclaine.
Arthur Laurents began a relationship with the actor Tom Hatcher in 1955. The pair were together until Hatcher's death from lung cancer in 2006.