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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Beth Henley
Born Elizabeth Becker Henley
May 8, 1952
Jackson, Mississippi, USA
Nationality United States
Alma mater Southern Methodist University
University of Illinois
Awards Pulitzer Prize for Drama (1981)

Elizabeth Becker "Beth" Henley (born May 8, 1952, Jackson, Mississippi) is an American dramatist and actress. She received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1981 for her play, Crimes of the Heart (1978).

Her most famous play, Crimes of the Heart, was her first produced professionally. It opened at the Actors Theatre of Louisville and then moved to New York produced by Manhattan Theatre Club. Crimes of the Heart won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, as well as the award for Best American Play of 1981 from the New York Drama Critics' Circle. The play also earned Henley a Tony Award nomination, and her screenplay for the film version of Crimes of the Heart was nominated for an Oscar as Best Adapted Screenplay.

Henley adapted her play, The Miss Firecracker Contest, into a 1989 film starring Holly Hunter entitled Miss Firecracker.

Henley continues to write plays and screenplays from her adopted home in California. She is an alumna of Southern Methodist University. Her latest play, Ridiculous Fraud, was produced at the McCarter Theatre in 2006.

In Spring 2010, her play Family Week will be performed at MCC Theater. The production will feature Rosemarie DeWitt and Sarah Jones. It will be directed by Jonathan Demme.



  • Am I Blue (1972)
  • Crimes of the Heart (1978)
  • The Miss Firecracker Contest (1979)
  • The Wake of Jamey Foster (1981)
  • The Debutante Ball (1985)
  • The Lucky Spot (1986)
  • Abundance (1990)
  • Control Freaks (1992)
  • Signature (1995)
  • L-Play (1996)
  • Impossible Marriage (1998)
  • Family Week (2000)
  • Ridiculous Fraud (2006)



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