Canadian playwright David French dies at age 71
Beloved Canadian playwright David French has died after a long battle with brain cancer. He was 71 years old. French is best known for his plays about the fictional Mercer family, whose experiences closely mirrored his own.
Though he began writing at an early age, it wasn’t until 1972 that French was inspired to show his first play, Leaving Home, to Toronto’s then-fledgling Tarragon Theatre. Director Bill Glassco liked the play and staged it in Tarragon’s first season. It was an instant hit and has remained French’s most popular play, and was followed by four additional plays focusing on the trials and tribulations of the Mercer family. French’s relationship with Glassco would also endure—the two collaborated for more than 30 years.
French’s work has been incredibly popular with regional theatres across the country, and Leaving Home was named one of the 1,000 Essential Plays in the English Language by the Oxford Dictionary of Plays. His plays continue to be taught in schools and universities today.