Playbill.com — the online Broadway bible — has posted a long tribute to Max Wilk. The longtime Westport resident — known to the world as a playwright, screenwriter, novelist, show business chronicler and dramaturg — died here last Saturday . He was 90.
Playbill quoted Amy Saltz, a frequent director for the National Playwrights Conference, who said that Wilk “loved show business. He was smart and sassy and blunt. He had great knowledge and experience, both of which he was anxious to share…. He (helped) writers, (offered) support, and (demanded) the best of everyone. He made an indelible impression and will be missed.”
Skip Mercier, a scenic and costume designer and longtime friend, added:
In typical Max form, plagued with growing dementia for his last week, he told me how hard it was not to have any ideas. Then his eyes got wide and he said: “You know all the pictures on the wall in my study?” [Many friends covered his walls; most deceased and famous].
I nodded. “Well they are all in train windows — there’s a train just behind the walls you know. It’s waiting for me but I don’t know where it’s going! I hope it’s fun.'” …To the end, he was creative, funny, and with a unique take on life and whatever is beyond.
Ted Chapin, president of Rodgers & Hammerstein, told Playbill.com:
Max Wilk lived an extraordinary life…. (He) will be missed for his passion, his intellect and his friendship. He was part of Irving Berlin’s all-soldier WWII revue, “This Is the Army,” a true historian of Broadway’s “golden age” and a scholar of the American songbook…. Max was not only a chronicler of that world, but a vital part of it.”
A memorial service to celebrate the life of Mr. Wilk is currently being planned by the family in Westport for April.