Profiles of LGBT people, from the past and today – and celebrating their birthdays! All Birthdays →

Mart Crowley

Born in Vicksburg, Mississippi, Mart Crowley was raised in a Catholic household. He attended a Catholic high school and graduated from The Catholic University of America in Washington D.C., studying acting and show business while there. Crowley moved to Hollywood in 1957 and began working for several TV production companies. There he met Natalie Wood, who hired him as her personal assistant to give him time to work on his plays. Crowley’s major work, The Boys in the Band, is a play about the lives of a group of gay men living in New York City. The play opened off-Broadway on April 14, 1968 and ran for a thousand performances. The play’s success and Crowley’s Hollywood contacts encouraged him to adapt it for the movies. The film version, directed by William Friedkin, opened in March 1970 and was a big hit as well. It is often cited as the first major American motion picture about gay characters. Both the play and the film received praise from critics and audiences for its willingness to portray the lives of gay men without condemnation. But The Boys in the Band also provoked criticism from some who thought it portrayed gay men in stereotypical fashion. A documentary film, “Making ‘The Boys,’” was released in 2011.