Prolific writer won fame for ‘Best Little Whorehouse’
Award-winning author dies after battling emphysema.
New York — Larry L. King, a writer and playwright whose magazine article about a campaign to close down a popular bordello became the hit Tony Award-nominated musical “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” and a movie starring Burt Reynolds, died Thursday. He was 83.
His wife, Barbara Blaine, said King died after battling emphysema at Chevy Chase House, a retirement home in Washington where he had been living the past six months.
King wrote two musicals, five plays, 14 books, a few screenplays and hundreds of magazine articles, for which he won an O. Henry Award in 2001.
His works include “None But a Blockhead,” a book about the act of writing, and a children’s book called “Because of Lozo Brown,” about children’s fears of meeting others.
“King’s strengths are his energy and wit and his integrity not to compromise the fundamentals. He rings an American bell,” Norman Mailer once said.
His “Confessions of a White Racist” — he called it “a gratuitous admission of guilt on behalf of all white racists past and present, malignant and benign” — was a finalist for a National Book Award.
King donated his archives to the Southwestern Writers Collection/Wittliff Collections at Texas State University in San Marcos. He received a Texas Bookend Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2004.
A private funeral was planned. King will be buried at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin, his wife said.
Larry L. King stands in front of the State Theatre on Congress Avenue in downtown Austin, where his play ‘The Dead President’s Club’ was about to premiere. He penned five plays, 14 books and two musicals.