Scott McPherson was an American playwright and actor. He was born on October 13, 1959, in Columbus, Ohio. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Ohio University, and in 1981, he moved to Chicago, and while being a struggling writer, he acted in productions of The Normal Heart and The House of Blue Leaves. McPherson was gay, and he and his partner, political cartoonist and AIDS activist Daniel Sotomayor, were dying of AIDS complications at the same time. They shared a hospital room, and nurses pushed their hospital beds together so that they could hold hands as they lay dying. Sotomayor predeceased McPherson by nine months. McPherson died in Chicago on November 7, 1992 at the age of 33. Ohio University named a theatre space in his honor.
McPherson’s magnum opus (and second and final completed full-length play) was Marvin’s Room, a 1990 drama about a woman, Bessie, who spends her days taking care of her father and aunt and has developed leukemia. She reaches out to her estranged sister, Lee, to find out if she is a match to donate bone marrow, and the family is forced to reunite and confront their estrangement. Marvin’s Room is based on McPherson’s experiences with older relatives, and for it, McPherson won the Drama Desk Award for Best Play.