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Playwright Bill C. Davis, in 2015, attends the Paris premiere of his play "Avow." (Photo: Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images)

Playwright Bill C. Davis, in 2015, attends the Paris premiere of his play "Avow." (Photo: Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images)

Award-Winning Playwright, Longtime Common Dreams Contributor Bill C. Davis Dies at 69

Common Dreams staff

Award-winning playwright, artist, political activist, and veteran Common Dreams contributor Bill C. Davis has died at the age of 69 due to complications from COVID-19.

According to the Washington Post, Davis' death on February 26 at a care facility in Connecticut was confirmed by his sister, Patricia Marks. The newspaper reports that the celebrated author of numerous plays—including the Tony-nominated "Mass Appeal"—had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last month, shortly after being hospitalized with the coronavirus.

As the obituary posted in Deadline details:

Born in Ellenville, NY, and raised in the state's Hudson Valley, Davis attended Catholic schools and, after graduating from Poughkeepsie's Marist College, worked at a residential community for developmentally disabled and emotionally disturbed adults in Rhinebeck, NY. He wrote Mass Appeal, about the conflicting personalities of a stern, conservative priest and a younger, rebellious seminarian, during his time in Rhinebeck.

Davis also wrote the screenplay for the 1984 film adaptation of "Mass Appeal" directed by Glenn Jordan, with Jack Lemmon taking the role of the elder priest and Zeljko Ivanek the young upstart.

Discussing the subject matter of "Mass Appeal" in a 2012 interview with the Irish Independent, Davis said beyond the tensions manifested by the life within the Catholic Church, the play is "about what the life of an artist might be. I have a tension within me between the desire to say what people want and to say what they need to hear."

Bill ran an unsuccessful congressional campaign in Connecticut in 2005 as a Green Party candidate.

Starting in 2001, Davis began contributing op-eds and columns on a variety of subjects to Common Dreams.

For more information about his life and works and a Celebration of his Life in the spring, please go to his website: www.billcdavis.com.


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