JAMES COCO, American actor (d. 1987); Coco’s first collaboration with gay American playwright Terrence McNally was an off-Broadway double-bill of one-act plays entitled Sweet Eros/Witness (1968), followed by Here’s Where I Belong, a disastrous Broadway musical adaptation of Steinbeck’s East of Eden that closed on opening night.

They had far greater success with their next project, Next, which ran for more than 700 performances and won Coco the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Performance. Sixteen years later, the two would reunite for the Manhattan Theatre Club production of It’s Only a Play. Coco also achieved success with Neil Simon, who wrote The Last of the Red Hot Lovers (1969) specifically for him. It won him a Tony Award nomination as Best Actor in a Play. The two later joined forces for a Broadway revival of the musical Little Me and the films Murder By Death, The Cheap Detective, and Only When I Laugh, for which he was Oscar nominated.