William Hanley

Last updated

William Hanley
Born(1931-10-22)October 22, 1931
Lorain, Ohio, United States
DiedMay 25, 2012(2012-05-25) (aged 80)
Ridgefield, Connecticut, United States
Spouse(s)Shelley Post (1956–1961)
Pat Stanley (1962–1978; divorced); 2 children
Relatives James Hanley, Gerald Hanley (uncles)
Ellen Hanley (sister)

William Hanley (October 22, 1931 – May 25, 2012) was an American playwright, novelist, and scriptwriter, born in Lorain, Ohio. Hanley wrote plays for the theatre, radio and television and published three novels in the 1970s. He was related to the British writers James and Gerald Hanley, and the actress Ellen Hanley was his sister.



William G. Hanley was born on October 22, 1931 Lorain, Ohio, one of three children of William Gerald and Anne Rodgers Hanley. [1] William Hanley, Sr. was born in Liverpool, England in 1899, [2] of Irish Catholic immigrants. He was a seaman prior to settling in the US, and then worked as a housepainter. [3] Shortly after Hanley's birth the family moved to Queens, New York. Hanley attended Cornell for a year, then served in the Army in the early 1950s, before enrolling at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, though he never pursued an acting career. [4] He worked as a bank clerk, mail clerk, factory worker, and book salesman while writing his early scripts. [5] William Hanley married Shelley Post, 1956 (divorced, 1961), and married Pat Stanley, 1962 (divorced, 1978).

The actress Ellen Hanley (1926–2007) was his sister. She is best known for playing Fiorello La Guardia's first wife in the 1959 Broadway musical "Fiorello!" The British novelist and playwright James Hanley (1897–1985) was his father William's brother. In addition to writing many novels James Hanley also wrote plays for the theatre, radio and television. Another brother was the novelist and script writer Gerald Hanley (1916–1992). [6]

William Hanley died May 25, 2012 after suffering a fall in his home in Ridgefield, Connecticut and was buried jn the family plot at Mapleshade Cemetery, next to his parents and sister. [7] He was 80. [5]


Hanley was a successful Broadway and off Broadway playwright in the 1960s. Howard Taubman wrote in The New York Times in 1962, that Hanley was "an uncommonly gifted writer." But the accolades, and a Tony nomination, did not provide commercial success. "Slow Dance" ran for 88 performances, the Off-Broadway plays had closed within a month. [5] However Hanley, subsequently he had a successful career in television, beginning with Flesh and Blood which was originally a stage play that Hanley sold in 1966, to NBC for $112,500, "at the time the most that television had paid an author for a single work". [5] Over a period of thirty years Hanley wrote more than two dozen TV scripts. He also published three novels in the 1970s.


He was nominated for Emmys five times and won twice: a 1984 ABC movie Something About Amelia and in 1988 for the mini-series The Attic: The Hiding of Anne Frank , which starred Paul Scofield, Mary Steenburgen and, as Anne, Lisa Jacobs. [8] Something About Amelia also won a 1984 Golden Globe Award for Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture made for Television. [9]


Stage plays

Published plays (including anthologies)


Plays for television

Radio play


Related Research Articles

Harvey Fierstein American actor

Harvey Forbes Fierstein is an American actor, playwright, singer and voice actor. He is best known for his roles as Frank Hillard in Mrs. Doubtfire and the voice of Yao in Mulan and Mulan II. Fierstein has won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play for his own play Torch Song Trilogy and the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for playing Edna Turnblad in Hairspray. He also wrote the book for the musical La Cage aux Folles, for which he won the Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical, and wrote the book for the Tony Award-winning Kinky Boots. He was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 2007.

Penny Fuller American actress

Penelope Ann "Penny" Fuller is an American actress. She received two Tony Award nominations for her performances on Broadway stage: for Applause (1970), and The Dinner Party (2001). For her television performances, Fuller received six Emmy Award nominations, winning once, in 1982 for playing Madge Kendal in The Elephant Man.

Reginald Rose was an American film and television writer, most widely known for his work in the early years of television drama. Rose's work is marked by its treatment of controversial social and political issues. His realistic approach was particularly influential in the anthology programs of the 1950s. He is best known for writing the courtroom drama Twelve Angry Men.

Barbara Barrie American actress and author

Barbara Barrie is an American actress of film, stage and television. She is also an author.

Renée Taylor

Renée Adorée Taylor is an American actress, screenwriter, playwright, producer and director. Taylor was nominated for an Academy Award for co-writing the screenplay for the film Lovers and Other Strangers (1970). She also played Sylvia Fine on the television sitcom The Nanny (1993–1999).

Sherman Yellen is an American playwright, screenwriter, and political commentator.

<i>Something About Amelia</i>

Something About Amelia is a 1984 television film about psychological trauma caused in a family by a father's molestation of his daughter.

<i>The Attic: The Hiding of Anne Frank</i>

The Attic: The Hiding of Anne Frank is a 1988 television film directed by John Erman. It is based on Miep Gies's book Anne Frank Remembered. The film was broadcast as part of an ad hoc network, Kraft Golden Showcase Network. Playwright William Hanley received an Emmy for his script.

Mildred Natwick American actress

Mildred Natwick was an American actress. She won a Primetime Emmy Award and was nominated for an Academy Award and two Tony Awards.

Milan Stitt was an American playwright and educator.

Keith Michell

Keith Joseph Michell was an Australian actor who worked primarily in the United Kingdom, and was best known for his television and film portrayals of King Henry VIII. He appeared extensively in Shakespeare and other classics and musicals in Britain, and was also in several Broadway productions. He was an artistic director of the Chichester Festival Theatre in the 1970s and later had a recurring role on Murder, She Wrote. He was also known for illustrating a collection of Jeremy Lloyd's poems Captain Beaky, and singing the title song from the associated album.

<i>Mrs. Harris</i>

Mrs. Harris is a 2005 American-British made-for-television drama film written and directed by Phyllis Nagy. The teleplay, based on the book Very Much a Lady by Shana Alexander, focuses on the tempestuous relationship between Herman Tarnower, noted cardiologist and author of the New York Times bestseller The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet, and headmistress Jean Harris. Produced by Killer Films, Number 9 Films, and John Wells for HBO Films, it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 16, 2005, before its broadcast on HBO on February 25, 2006.

Lois Smith American actress

Lois Arlene Smith is an American character actress, whose career spans seven decades. She made her film debut in the 1955 drama film East of Eden, and later played supporting roles in a number of movies, including Five Easy Pieces (1970), Resurrection (1980), Fatal Attraction (1987), Fried Green Tomatoes (1991), How to Make an American Quilt (1995), Dead Man Walking (1995), Twister (1996), Minority Report (2002), The Nice Guys (2016) and Lady Bird (2017).

Ellen Hanley was a musical theater performer best known for playing Fiorello H. LaGuardia's first wife in the Pulitzer Prize-winning Fiorello!. She was related to the British writers James and Gerald Hanley, and the playwright, novelist, and scriptwriter William Hanley was her brother.

Patricia "Pat" Stanley is a retired American actress, dancer and singer.

Robert L. Freedman is an American screenwriter and dramatist. He is best known for his teleplays for Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella (1997) and Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows (2001), and for his Tony-winning book and lyrics of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder (2014).

Steven Schachter is an American television, theatre, and film director and screenwriter.

Ernest Kinoy was an American writer, screenwriter and playwright.

Bill Kerby was a screenwriter for several Hollywood films and television series who wrote and co-wrote the 1970s films Hooper and The Rose.

William Aubert Luce was an American writer, primarily for the stage and television. He wrote several plays which starred Julie Harris, and specialized in one-person plays.


  1. Heves, Dennis (June 3, 2012). "William Hanley, Playwright and TV Writer, Dies at 80". The New York Times. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
  2. "James Hanley's Life" in James Hanley's The Closed Harbour. London: Oneworld Classics, 2009, p. 202
  3. James Hanley, Broken Water: An Autobiographical Excursion. London: Chatto & Windus, 1937, p.130, 134, 140, 246; Lorain Public Library System, local authors, Lorain.lib.oh.us [ dead link ]
  4. Playbill.com
  5. 1 2 3 4 Hevesi, Dennis (June 3, 2012). "William Hanley, Playwright and TV Writer, Dies at 80". The New York Times .
  6. The National Library of Wales has a few letters from William and Ellen Hanley to James Hanley. William Hanley, playwright. Letter from (1976), NLW 23132, f. 205. Ellen Hanley, actress. Letters from (1960–79), NLW 23132, ff. 194–204v
  7. Ridgefield Press, 28 May 2012
  8. Dennis Heves, "William Hanley, Playwright and TV Writer, Dies at 80. The New York Times, June 3, 2012.
  9. Golden Globe Awards
  10. Cix.co.uk
  11. Something About Amelia An ABC Theatre Presentation, emmys.com. Retrieved September 27, 2017
  12. Ellen Foster#Television film
  13. IMBd