Spalding Gray

Spalding Gray (June 5, 1941 – January 11, 2004) was an American actor and writer. He is best known for the autobiographical monologues that he wrote and performed for the theater in the 1980s and 1990s, as well as for his film adaptations of these works, beginning in 1987. He wrote and starred in several, working with different directors. Theater critics John Willis and Ben Hodges called Gray's monologues "trenchant, personal narratives delivered on sparse, unadorned sets with a dry, WASP, quiet mania."[1]: 316  Gray achieved renown for his monologue Swimming to Cambodia, which he adapted as a 1987 film in which he starred; it was directed by Jonathan Demme. Other of his monologues that he adapted for film were Monster in a Box (1991), directed by Nick Broomfield, and Gray's Anatomy (1996), directed by Steven Soderbergh.

Oct'2011: review of his published journals - He made holding an audience in the palm of his hand seem effortless, yet his journals reveal how much he rehearsed and revised, how dedicated to acting as much as spontaneity he was — to acting as if it were all spontaneous. The persona he created became beloved — almost too beloved, in a way that sometimes trivialized him into a Seinfeldian curmudgeon — and he jetted all over the world replicating it... One problem in assessing the ­confession-honesty divide in this book is that it has been distilled from what Casey estimates are 5,000 pages of writings and journals and that his family — especially his second wife, Kathleen Russo, who has custody of them — reserved the right to remove passages they felt would be hurtful or violate privacies. Understandable, but it leaves us not entirely sure in what ways this Spalding Gray is more or less “real” than the man onstage, or whether there’s a somewhat different creature behind both. He would probably relish the mystery, and not be able to solve it himself.

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