1923-1969

Pictured with Virgil Thomson and Ned Rorem

William Flanagan and his playwright lover Edward Albee were known in the Greenwich Village of the 1950s as “The Sisters Grimm,” and most evenings they glowered their way through clandestine, Mafia-run gay bars with names like Goody’s and Mary’s and Lenny’s Hideaway. They lived to drink from 11pm to dawn and slept until 4 in the afternoon; in between times, they took odd jobs and ran telegrams for Western Union. Flanagan was a sharp, fast talker, and Albee was his younger protégé, a kind of silent sponge, drinking everything in. “Edward is widely reputed to be a mysterious number,” Flanagan said later on, after Albee left him for the young and extremely beautiful Terrence McNally. “He’s been exorcising ghosts all his life.” [link]

Flanagan was a great admirer of Aaron Copland, who became something of a mentor to Flanagan.  He committed suicide in 1969, after which Copland eulogized him in a memorial concert.
 

Three tiered gentlemen in suits with thin black ties - Flanagan facing forwards in front, with Ned Rorem and Virgil Thomson back to back behind him.