Considered by many to be American theater's greatest librettist, Arthur Laurents was also remembered as a prolific stage director and screenwriter, whose credits include the books for the musicals "West Side Story" (1957) and "Gypsy" (1959), as well as the screenplay for "The Way We Were" (1973). Although he received his start in radio, Laurents had long aspired to write plays, and in 1945 made his Broadway debut with the premiere of the wartime drama "Home of the Brave," which was later adapted for film. Early work in Hollywood included the script for Alfred Hitchcock's thriller "Rope" (1948), before his film career was temporarily derailed by accusations leveled at him during the Communist witch hunts of the 1950s. He enjoyed a successful return to film with his script for the historical drama "Anastasia" (1956) prior to his triumph alongside frequent future collaborator Stephen Sondheim on the smash musical "West Side Story." Unbelievably, Laurents topped his previous achievement with the universally acclaimed musical memoir "Gypsy," featuring Ethel Merman in the role of her career. In the early 1960s, Laurents introduced a then-unknown Barbara Streisand to the world in the Broadway musical "I Can Get It For You Wholesale," only to provide her with the script for one of her biggest box-office hits, "The Way We Were" a decade later. Less than five years later, he followed with the screenplay for yet another Oscar-nominated film, "The Turning Point" (1977), and in 1983 directed the Broadway smash hit "La Cage aux Folles." As a writer and director, Laurents sought to create works that would not only entertain, but that would also - and perhaps most importantly - educate, elucidate, and inspire.