18 Facts About August Wilson


In 2006, August Wilson was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.

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August Wilson's mother divorced his father and married David Bedford in the 1950s, and the family moved from the Hill District to the then predominantly White working-class neighborhood of Hazelwood, where they encountered racial hostility; bricks were thrown through a window at their new home.

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In 1959, August Wilson was one of 14 African-American students at Central Catholic High School but dropped out after one year.

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August Wilson dropped out of Gladstone High School in the 10th grade in 1960 after his teacher accused him of plagiarizing a 20-page paper he wrote on Napoleon I of France.

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August Wilson's forced him to leave the family home and he enlisted in the United States Army for a three-year stint in 1962, but and went back to working various odd jobs as a porter, short-order cook, gardener, and dishwasher.

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In 1969 August Wilson married Brenda Burton, a Muslim, and became associated with the NOI, though he reportedly did not convert.

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In 1968, along with his friend Rob Penny, August Wilson co-founded the Black Horizon Theater in the Hill District of Pittsburgh.

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In 1978 August Wilson moved to Saint Paul, Minnesota, at the suggestion of his friend, director Claude Purdy, who helped him secure a job writing educational scripts for the Science Museum of Minnesota.

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August Wilson quit the Museum in 1981, but continued writing plays.

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August Wilson wrote Fullerton Street, which has been unproduced and unpublished, in 1980.

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In 1990 August Wilson left St Paul after getting divorced and moved to Seattle.

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August Wilson received many honorary degrees, including an honorary Doctor of Humanities from the University of Pittsburgh, of which he was a trustee from 1992 until 1995.

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August Wilson's best-known plays are Fences (which won a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award), The Piano Lesson (1990) (a Pulitzer Prize and the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award), Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, and Joe Turner's Come and Gone.

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August Wilson's is reported to be 285 years old in Gem of the Ocean, which takes place in her home at 1839 Wylie Avenue, and 349 in Two Trains Running.

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Two years before his death in 2005, August Wilson wrote and performed an unpublished one-man play entitled How I Learned What I Learned about the power of art and the power of possibility.

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August Wilson married again in 1994 and was survived by his third wife, costume designer Constanza Romero, whom he met on the set of The Piano Lesson.

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August Wilson reported that he had been diagnosed with liver cancer in June 2005 and been given three to five months to live.

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August Wilson died on October 2, 2005, at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, and was interred at Greenwood Cemetery, Pittsburgh, on October 8, 2005, aged 60.

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