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Ron Cowen

  • Birthplace: Cincinnati, Ohio

Ron Cowen has written extensively for theater and television.

Cowen's first play, Summertree, which he wrote while still in graduate school, was originally performed at the Eugene O'Neill Playwright's Conference in Waterford, Connecticut, where it was directed by Lloyd Richards and starred Michael Douglas. The following year it was produced at Lincoln Center starring Blythe Danner and David Birney. It won the Drama Desk Award and was one of the plays considered that year for the Pulitzer Prize. The play was later revived Off-Broadway, and made into a film for Columbia Pictures starring Michael Douglas.

Ron Cowen has written extensively for theater and television.

Cowen's first play, Summertree, which he wrote while still in graduate school, was originally performed at the Eugene O'Neill Playwright's Conference in Waterford, Connecticut, where it was directed by Lloyd Richards and starred Michael Douglas. The following year it was produced at Lincoln Center starring Blythe Danner and David Birney. It won the Drama Desk Award and was one of the plays considered that year for the Pulitzer Prize. The play was later revived Off-Broadway, and made into a film for Columbia Pictures starring Michael Douglas.

He then wrote his first original drama for television, Saturday Adoption, which aired on CBS Playhouse. At twenty-three, he was the youngest writer ever to be commissioned by CBS. He also wrote two adaptations for the PBS series, The American Short Story: Sherwood Anderson's I'm A Fool, and Willa Cather's Paul's Case, for which he won his first Peabody Award.

Cowen and his partner, playwright Daniel Lipman, whom he met at The O'Neill, received the Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for their teleplay of An Early Frost, which they also associate produced. The highly acclaimed NBC drama was the first major film -- for television or features -- about AIDS. It starred Gena Rowlands, Ben Gazzara, Aidan Quinn and Sylvia Sidney. Nominated for 14 Emmy Awards, it also won a Peabody Award and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Television Movie.

They then wrote and co-produced the NBC telefilm, The Love She Sought, which starred Angela Lansbury, Denholm Elliot and Cynthia Nixon, for which they won the Christopher Award and were nominated for a Writers Guild Award for Best Teleplay.

Their first television series, Sisters, which they created, wrote and executive produced, ran for six seasons on NBC. The Emmy Award-winning and Golden Globe-nominated series starred Swoosie Kurtz, Sela Ward, George Clooney, Ashley Judd, and Paul Rudd.

Cowen and Lipman then created, wrote and executive produced the American version of Queer As Folk, the groundbreaking series which ran for five seasons on Showtime.

For the theater, Cowen and Lipman wrote the book for the musical, Betty Blue Eyes. Based on Alan Bennett's screenplay for the film A Private Function, with a score by Olivier Award-winning composer and lyricist, George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, it was produced in London's West End at the Novello Theatre by Sir Cameron Mackintosh and directed by Sir Richard Eyre. It received widespread critical acclaim and was nominated for three 2012 Olivier Awards including Best Musical, Best Actor, and Best Actress. It was also short-listed for the Evening Standard Award for Best Musical.

Their most recent theater collaboration is a musical adaptation of Graham Greene's novel Travels With My Aunt. With a score also by Stiles and Drewe, it was produced at the Chichester Festival Theatre.

Currently, they are adapting Katherine Anne Porter's novel about anti-Semitism, Ship Of Fools, for the stage.

Cowen attended UCLA for undergraduate studies and The Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Pennsylvania for graduate work. He is a former member of the University's Advisory Council for the Performing Arts.

He is honored to serve on the Board of Trustees of the O'Neill Theater Center.

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AWARDS & NOMINATIONS

AWARDS & NOMINATIONS

1 Nomination 1 Emmy
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