New Mexico

Beloved Las Cruces playwright, director Mark Medoff dies

Las Cruces mourns legendary playright...

Beloved Las Cruces playwright, director and professor Mark Medoff died Tuesday at 79 years old.

“When people ask me why we stayed here, instead of moving on to greener pastures, this is the green pasture to us," Medoff told ABC-7 in an August 2018 interview.

The highly successful man had the opporutnity to move elsewhere, but family members say he fell in love with the Land of Enchantment.

"It was a love affair," said his son-in-law, Ross Marks. "It was a love affair with our university, a love affair with our community and a love affair with the people in Las Cruces."​

The two first met when Marks was an aspiring 20-year-old actor, who Medoff convinced to transfer to NMSU. After that, they became business partners, educators and ultimately, family.

"Mark was more than a father-in-law to me," Marks said. "He was really a father."

Medoff was best known for his play “Children of a Lesser God,” which earned him a Tony Award and an Academy Award nomination, among other accolades.

He received local, state and national awards, including The Kennedy Center Medallion for Excellence in Education and Artistic Achievement, the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts (1980) and NMSU’s Westafer Award, the university’s highest faculty honor (1974).

Most recently, Medoff worked on on the film “Walking with Herb” starring George Lopez and Edward James Olmos. The film was shot in Las Cruces and is due out this fall. The film’s producer and director, Ross Marks, who is also Medoff’s son-in-law, told ABC-7 last summer the fact that Medoff remained in Las Cruces was instrumental in the development of the city’s film industry.

 

"Unlike most people who experience success and go off to greater pastures, he's stayed in town and tried to bring the film business to him," Marks said.

"When people ask me why we stayed here instead of moving on to greener pastures, this is the greener pasture to us," Medoff told ABC-7.

 

 

 


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