Inge, William(ĭnj), 1913–73, American playwright, b. Independence, Kans., grad. Univ. of Kansas, 1935. He was a teacher and newspaper critic before he won recognition as a dramatist. Inge's plays portray sympathetically the aspirations and frustrations of small-town life in the Midwest. Come Back, Little Sheba (1950) established his reputation. It was followed by Picnic (1953; Pulitzer Prize), Bus Stop (1955), and The Dark at the Top of the Stairs (1957). After the unsuccessful production of A Loss of Roses (1959) Inge's reputation as a dramatist declined; he turned to writing novels, notably Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff (1970). He died in 1973, apparently a suicide.
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Inge, William (Motter)(1913–73) playwright; born in Independence, Kans. He studied at the University of Kansas (B.A. 1935) and the George Peabody College for Teachers (M.A. 1938). He worked as an actor before teaching at the high school level (1937–38) and the college level (1938–46). He became a movie, music, and drama critic in St. Louis, Mo. (1943–46), taught intermittently, and moved to New York City where he became famous as a screenwriter, television playwright, and Broadway dramatist. He is best known for his plays Come Back, Little Sheba (1950), Picnic (1953), Bus Stop (1955), and The Dark at the Top of the Stairs (1957). Ill and plagued by alcoholism, he committed suicide.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.