Thomas Oliver Crehore
30 Apr 1935 - 01 Jul 2015
In Their Own Words
Tom Oliver Crehore was able to retire from his job as a CUNY sergeant in public safety and devote full-time to his lifelong passion.
I was lucky early on. By ninth grade in Roosevelt School in Westfield, New Jersey, I knew I was going to be a writer. By high school I was editing the Hi’s-Eye, and the yearbook, plus writing the Senior Show.
At the University of Virginia I took a playwriting class. When my first play won a contest and was put on over in Richmond, I was hooked.
Best advice ever from an instructor: “Yes, Tom, go for it as a writer but you’re going to starve to death at least weekly, so never, ever, no matter what, will you work off the books. Because, someday [Hello, Someday!] you’ll need every single dollar of your Social Security.” Man, was he ever right.
And while I was winning playwriting contests, became a member of Lehman Engel’s BMI Composers/Lyricists Workshop, and took on a zillion part-time jobs to keep on writing, I never did work off those books.
Eventually, Edward Albee did a whole bunch of my one acts in what’s now Soho Playhouse, where Audrey Wood, Tennessee Williams’ agent, saw some and got me a Rockefeller Grant and an intro to the National Playwright’s Conference up in Waterford, Connecticut. She also got me my first film job—I wrote two on commission—and one on my own, but, alas, they were never filmed. Not a total fool, I found a rent-stabilized apartment on the Upper West Side, began doing security for the American Bible Society, the American Museum of Natural History, and Hunter College—let me repeat, all on the books. At Hunter, by day, I was keeping those students safe and sound, but by night? Taking a playwriting class.
So, workwise? I’d already been a lumber truck driver, a forklift monkey, church sexton, school custodian, done reservations for TWA, and sold at least a zillion Christmas wreaths. So, again, hello Social Security, because at last I could retire (on an April’s Fool’s day) and not work any more for anyone else. And for almost the first time in my life, write 60–70 hours a week. Write what? A trilogy called The Westfield Plays, that hopefully someday we will all be seeing—because what I’ve known since ninth grade, of course, is that I wanted to be a Theatre Producer. And Social Security—and my pension as a member of Local 237, without which I’d be history— is why it’s possible.
CREHORE— Thomas Oliver, died July 1 at New York Presbyterian Hospital after a long illness. Born April 30, 1935 to Katherine and Austen Crehore in Westfield, NJ. Graduate University of Virginia. A playwright, resident of New York City and Cape Cod. Burial Fairview Cemetery, Westfield, NJ. Memorial service later. Donations requested: Westfield Historical Society.
Thomas Oliver Crehore, Was Playwright; WHS Weather Vane, Hi’s-Eye Editor, 1953
Thomas Oliver Crehore died on July 1, at New York Presbyterian Hospital after a long illness.
Born April 30, 1935 to Katherine and Austen Crehore in Westfield, NJ., Mr. Crehore was editor of the Westfield High School yearbook, Weather Vane, and the Hi’s Eye newspaper.
A University of Virginia graduate and a playwright, he was a resident of New York City and Eastham, Cape Cod, Mass.
Burial took place at Fairview Cemetery in Westfield. A memorial service will be held at a later date. Donations in Tom’s name are requested to the Westfield Historical Society, 314 Mountain Avenue, Westfield, N.J. 07090
See this blog about the disposal of Tom’s estate.
- Retiree News & Views, v.17 no.4 (April 2011) p.1
- The New York Times (New York, NY) online, Sunday, 19 Jul 2015
- The Westfield Leader (Westfield, NJ) Thursday, 23 July 2015