Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Charles Fuller died October 3, 2022 just two days before his 84th birthday in Toronto, Ontario.  His wife Claire stated that her husband died as a result of natural causes.

Fuller won the Pulitzer Prize in 1982 for “A Soldier’s Play”; the following year he wrote the screenplay for the Academy Award nominated film “A Soldier’s Story”.  The 2020 revival of “A Soldier’s Play” won the Tony Award for “Best Revival of a Play.

“A Soldier’s Play” used social commentary to expose how racism can be perpetuated.  He once said, “the best way to dispel stereotypes and massive lies is telling something as close to the truth as you can.”  “A Soldier’s Play” tells the story of the murder of an Army sergeant of colour in Louisiana during World War II and the search for his murderer.  Young talents Denzel Washington and Samuel L. Jackson appeared in the New York stage production of the play.

The Philadelphia native was born Charles Henry Fuller Jr on March 5, 1939.  He himself was a member of the United States Army where he served in Japan and South Korea after joining in 1959.

His first production was an inter-racial production “The Perfect Party” which the McCarter Theater in Princeton, New Jersey put on; the production later appeared on Off-Broadway in 1969. After writing productions for the Negro Ensemble Company, Fuller’s “break” with “The Brownsville Raid” – a true story about soldiers of colour that were dishonourably discharged after bein accused of murder in 1906.  The soldiers were eventually exonerated many years later.

Other plays penned by Fuller are “Zooman and the Sign” which he later reworked as a made for TV film in 1995, “Sally”, “Prince”, “Jonquil”, “Burner’s Frolic”, “The Sky is Gray” which appeared on PBS, “A Gathering of Old Men” which aired on CBS, “Love Songs” which became a made for TV movie, and “One Night…” that dealt with the issue of rape.

In 1967 Fuller founded the Afro-American Arts Theatre in his hometown of Philadelphia.

Widowed by his first wife Miriam, Fuller is survived by his wife Claire, son David, a daughter-in-law, four grandchildren, and three great grandchildren.