WILLIAM INGE, American playwright was born (d. 1973); An American playwright and novelist, whose works typically feature solitary protagonists encumbered with strained sexual relations. In the early 1950s, he had a string of memorable Broadway productions, and one of these, Picnic, earned him a Pulitzer Prize. With his portraits of small-town life and settings rooted in the American heartland, Inge became known as the “Playwright of the Midwest.” The Last Pad is one of three of Inge’s plays that either have out Gay characters or address homosexuality directly. The Boy in the Basement, a one-act play written in the early 1950s, but not published until 1962, is his only play that addresses homosexuality overtly, while Archie in The Last Pad and Pinky in Where’s Daddy? (1966) are Gay characters. Inge himself was closeted.
Inge’s The Last Pad premiered in Phoenix, Arizona in 1972. Originally titled The Disposal, the world premiere of The Last Pad was produced by Robert L. (Bob) Johnson and directed by Keith A. Anderson through the Southwest Ensemble Theatre. The production starred Nick Nolte and included Jim Matz and Richard Elmore (Elmer). The production moved to Los Angeles and opened just days after Inge committed suicide.
During the early 1970s, Inge lived in Los Angeles, where he taught playwriting at UC Irvine. His last several plays attracted little notice or critical acclaim, and he fell into a deep depression, convinced he would never be able to write well again. He committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning in 1973.