Playwright Larry Shue, 39, Dies in Crash : Author of Hit Comedies Was Among Victims on Downed Plane

From Times Wire Services

Playwright Larry Shue, who had hit comedies currently running in New York and England, was one of 14 people killed in a commuter airplane crash, it was learned Wednesday.

Shue, 39, whose one-act “Grandma Duck Is Dead” was recently performed on National Public Radio, died Monday when a Henson Airlines plane crashed into Hall Mountain in the George Washington National Forest.

Shue’s play, “The Nerd,” had a hit run in London in 1984 and is now touring England.

Last summer, Shue, who also was an actor, appeared in the New York Shakespeare Festival production of Joseph Papp’s “The Mystery of Edwin Drood.”


He was scheduled to make his Broadway debut in the featured role of the Rev. Mr. Cisparkle in that play in December.

Shue’s most successful comedy, “The Foreigner,” was produced in Los Angeles, New York and Milwaukee.

Shue had begun work on a screenplay of “The Foreigner” for Walt Disney Studios. The American Theater Critics Assn. named it one of the best plays produced in regional theater during the 1983-84 season. The play now has the fifth-longest run on off-Broadway.

Shue, a native of New Orleans, grew up in Glen Ellyn, Ill., and graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University.


He worked as an actor at the Harlequin Dinner Theater in Rockville, Md., and joined the Milwaukee Repertory Theater in 1977. He turned to playwriting in 1979 at the suggestion of John Dillon, the repertory theater’s artistic director. Dillon said Shue was flying from New York to his home in Virginia when he was killed.

In an interview last year, Shue said the characters in “The Foreigner” and “The Nerd” contained an element of his own personality that he called “my dream that the wishy-washy nice guy will emerge triumphant.”

“I’m the type of guy who sat by the phone for two hours before I found the nerve to ask for a date,” he said.