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Ira Bilowit


September 12, 1925 - July 22, 2016


Ira J. Bilowit, lifelong New Yorker dedicated to his passion for theater, passed away July 22 at the age of 90. Ira mounted his own musical adaptation of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men with the Nobel Laureate's earnest approval in 1958, its cast including Art Lund, Jo Sullivan and Leo Penn; the New York Times called it "a work of substance and power." An arts journalist for six decades, Ira was a theater critic and editor at Show Business, contributing editor for Backstage, and editor-publisher of his own New York Theatre Review in which many of Ira's insightful interviews appeared with renowned personalities including Tennessee Williams, Eugene Ionesco, David Mamet, Martin Charnin, Howard Korder, Marsha Norman, Lanford Wilson, Hal Prince, Uta Hagen, Ian McKellen, Estelle Parsons, Joan Plowright, Alfred Drake and Rex Harrison. Ira was an active member of the American Theatre Critics Association since 1976, former vice-president of the New York Drama Desk, a member of The Dramatists Guild and the International Association Of Theatre Critics. Survivors include sons Michael and Bill, and his second wife, prominent acting teacher Alice Spivak. His third wife, Debbie Wasserman, preceded him in death.

Ira was my colleague and friend for many years. I will miss his ready smile, despite trying medical conditions these past few years, which was in contrast to his often acerbic opinions about theater.

He will be missed by many.