Doric Wilson -- the Tri-City boy who dreamed of being a New York City playwright -- has died at age 72.
After graduating from Kennewick High in 1958, he took the Big Apple by storm leaving an indelible mark on the off-off Broadway community.
He was one of the first resident playwrights at New York's legendary Caffe Cino and co-founded the renowned theater group The Other Side of Silence (TOSOS).
His many plays continue to be a staple for the smaller New York City theaters.
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But there was much more to the beloved man, friend, writer than the humorous and poignant plays he penned. He was fearless and spoke out boldly in support of gays long before they came out of the closet.
He took part in the infamous Stonewall Riots of 1969, which later that year led to the creation of the Gay Activists Alliance.
His friends included the renowned playwright Edward Albee, who is best known for Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolff.
"If you look at Doric Wilson's work of the last 50 years, you will see that he knows more words than most people and knows how to use them, but there's one word that he's never heard -- compromise," Albee wrote on Wilson's website before he died. "Doric has always told it as it is. He has never believed in playing it safe and the word 'sugar-coating' is not in his vocabulary either. His theater is tough, funny and right on target. No pussyfooting for Doric: He doesn't write gay theater; he writes queer theater."
In 2007, Wilson was awarded the prestigious Innovative Theater Award for Artistic Achievement, which annually honors an individual for significant artistic contributions to the off-off Broadway community.
Two years later, his play, A Perfect Relationship, caused a stir in New Delhi, India, where the production was making its international debut.
Because the play dealt with a gay lifestyle, the government tried to ban it from opening. The play went on anyway and played to a packed house, Wilson told the Herald in 2009.
He was thrilled his play found a new audience on the other side of the world and that it broke new ground on human rights in support of the Indian gay community.
He told the Herald once he had been openly gay since high school, back when alternative lifestyles were frowned upon. But he had a solid base of friends who accepted his difference.
And though New York City has been Wilson's home for more than a half-century, he never lost his connection to where he grew up -- initially on his grandfather's ranch in Plymouth.
He remained close with childhood friend Susan Thiss of Richland. The news of his death last Saturday evoked a flood of tears, then she remembered the giggles and adventures she shared with Wilson in New York throughout their friendship.
He was kind, generous, witty, loved unconditionally and laughed easily, she said.
"Doric embraced his life with such vigor," Thiss said. "His loyalty knew no bounds. We emailed almost everyday. In one email he informed me that I had the distinct honor of being the only Republican in his mailing list. His dry sense of humor never wavered."
New Yorker Morry Campbell, another close friend, said the circumstances of Wilson's death appear to be of natural causes, though any official report has not been released.
"I can tell you that there is talk of a big memorial (in New York City) in June," Campbell told the Herald via email. "We're all still pretty shaken here."