Family moved from New York to Louisiana when he was a child, to create a better environment to care for his sister, who was born deaf.
Attended his Louisiana high school during its period of racial integration in the '60s.
Excelled in high-school debate, and began college with an interest in directing.
Worked as a switchboard operator at the United Nations Plaza Hotel to support himself during graduate school.
Has won several prestigious awards for his plays, including a Pulitzer Prize and a Kennedy Center Award for Angels in America.
Has been a source of controversy in the Zionist community for some of his statements about Israel and Palestine.
Has received many awards for his social and cultural contributions, such as the Spirit of Justice Award from the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, and the Cultural Achievement Award from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture.
2013, BAFTA Film Awards — Best Adapted Screenplay: Nominee
2012, Oscar — Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay): Nominee
2004, Tony — Book of a Musical: Nominee
1994, Tony — Play: Winner
1993, Tony — Play: Winner
2006, Golden Globe — Best Screenplay - Motion Picture: Nominee
2004, Tony — Score (Music and/or Lyrics): Nominee
2013, Critics' Choice Movie Awards — Best Adapted Screenplay: Winner