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Mark Medoff, who wrote “Children of a Small God”, kills age 79: NPR

Playwright Mark Medoff author of Children of a Small God in New York in April 2004. Justin Walters / AP hide caption change caption Justin Walters / AP Playwright Mark Medoff author of Children of a Small God in New York in April 2004. Justin Walters / AP Mark Medoff, whose Tony-award-winning game Child of a smaller God opened the stage for deaf actresses, died Tuesday at home in Las Cruces, NM, at the age of 79. He had suffered from multiple myeloma and kidney failure, The Associated Press reported, referring to his daughter Jessica Bunchman. Medoff wrote 30 plays and is best known for the pioneering Children of a Little God the story of a young deaf woman and her love affair with her teacher of speech. The play was inspired by Medoff's meeting with deaf actress Phyllis Frelich who told him that there were no stage roles for deaf actresses. Medoff's answer was his promise to write a play for her. Children of a small god ran for nearly 900 performances on Broadway with Frelich who played part of the strong-willed Sarah Norman. It also earned Frelich a Tony Award in 1980 for best actress and a best actor for her costar, John Rubenstein. The play was later made into a 1986 film by Marlee Matlin and William Hurt. Matlin won an Oscar for her portrayal of Sarah. "He insisted and fought the studio that the role played by a deaf actor, I would not be here as…

Playwright Mark Medoff author of Children of a Small God in New York in April 2004.

Justin Walters / AP

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Justin Walters / AP

Playwright Mark Medoff author of Children of a Small God in New York in April 2004.

Justin Walters / AP

Mark Medoff, whose Tony-award-winning game Child of a smaller God opened the stage for deaf actresses, died Tuesday at home in Las Cruces, NM, at the age of 79.

He had suffered from multiple myeloma and kidney failure, The Associated Press reported, referring to his daughter Jessica Bunchman.

Medoff wrote 30 plays and is best known for the pioneering Children of a Little God the story of a young deaf woman and her love affair with her teacher of speech.

The play was inspired by Medoff’s meeting with deaf actress Phyllis Frelich who told him that there were no stage roles for deaf actresses. Medoff’s answer was his promise to write a play for her.

Children of a small god ran for nearly 900 performances on Broadway with Frelich who played part of the strong-willed Sarah Norman. It also earned Frelich a Tony Award in 1980 for best actress and a best actor for her costar, John Rubenstein.

The play was later made into a 1986 film by Marlee Matlin and William Hurt. Matlin won an Oscar for her portrayal of Sarah.

“He insisted and fought the studio that the role played by a deaf actor, I would not be here as an Oscar winner unless it was for him. tweeted on Tuesday.

Medoff won first the time as an actor in the early 1970s with When you came back, Red Ryder? who won a Drama Desk and Obie award in 1974. It was played followed by The Wager and another strong review by The New York Times

Medoff, who also wrote, produced or directed 19 films, founded the US Southwest Theater Company and for nine years was the director of the Department of Theater Arts at New Mexico State University. He learned there for more than 50 years, reports Las Cruces Sun News .

He was born March 18, 1940 in Mount Carmel, Ill., And grew up in Florida where he earned his bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Miami, Medoff received a Master’s degree at Stanford University in 1966.

Medoff is survived by his wife Stephanie, three daughters, and eight grandchildren.

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