A college professor of English since 1966 at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, Medoff took up playwriting and had his first play, the grim and claustrophobic "When You Comin' Back, Red Ryder?...
Play, "Children of a Lesser God" opened on Broadway on March 30; would run until May 16, 1982; received Tony Award as Best Play
Had two plays produced in NYC off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway, "The Majestic Kid" and "The Heart Outright"
Joined the faculty of the University of New Mexico
Had his first play, "When You Comin' Back, Red Rider?" produced
Returned to New York off-Broadway theater with "The Hands of Its Enemy", which had played previously in L.A. during the 1984-1985 season
Named chair of the drama department at University of New Mexico
Was appointed dramatist-in-residence at the University of New Mexico
Returned to films with the screenplay for the detective comedy, "Off Beat", and the screenplay adaptation of his Broadway hit, "Children of a Lesser God"; shared an Oscar nomination with Hesper Anderson for the latter
A college professor of English since 1966 at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, Medoff took up playwriting and had his first play, the grim and claustrophobic "When You Comin' Back, Red Ryder?", produced Off-Broadway in 1974. (Its 1979 screen adaptation was a critical and box office disappointment). The following year, he was appointed the university's dramatist-in-residence and subsequently appointed chair of the drama department in 1978. That same year, he had a first screenplay, the co-authored script for the routine Chuck Norris action vehicle, "Good Guys Wear Black (1978), produced in Hollywood.<p> Medoff's real breakthrough writing achievement came with his sensitive study of the romance between a teacher and a rebellious hearing-impaired woman, "Children of a Lesser God" (1980). The play won him a Tony Award (and eventually an honorary doctorate from Gallaudet University), and though Hollywood at first resisted what it saw as non-commercial material, the 1986 film version won both popular and critical acclaim and its author an Oscar nomination. Medoff's subsequent screen work has continued his interest in people who stand out from their surroundings. Both "Clara's Heart" (1988) and "City of Joy" (1992) won praise for their nuanced characterizations and tender emotions, yet were criticized for sentimentality and even pretension in some quarters.