Dennis Letts, Father of Tracy Letts, Dies at 73

Dennis Letts was a retired professor and actor who made his Broadway debut this season in his son Tracy's acclaimed production of August: Osage County. Robert Siegel spoke to both father and son in late December on this program. Dennis Letts, who died Friday of cancer, was 73.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

Two months ago on this program, we interviewed an actor playing a retired Oklahoma college professor. The character knows that he's dying of cancer. In late December, I asked Dennis Letts what it was like being in the Broadway play "August: Osage County," written by his son Tracy.

Mr. DENNIS LETTS (Actor): It's very interesting because, of course, I'm a retired college professor - as is the character. I'm just not the alcoholic, and I haven't disappeared, yet. So...

SIEGEL: On Friday, at age 73, Dennis Letts succumbed to the cancer that he learned he had only after he started in the role, and just after he learned the play was bound for Broadway. It had opened in Chicago. In "August: Osage County," Dennis Letts played the patriarch of a large, dysfunctional family, which was only marginally different, he told me, than the one he led in real life.

Mr. LETTS: I have presided over a small, dysfunctional family.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIEGEL: Of which Tracy is the product.

Mr. LETTS: Tracy is a part of it.

SIEGEL: Actor Dennis Letts last December. He died on Friday at age 73. He made his Broadway debut in "August; Osage County" in the production that won rave reviews last year.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Related NPR Stories

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: