Atwater: Fixin’ To Die

“It’s Hard to Hate a Man Who Plays the Blues and Dies Young.” By Mark Singer. New Yorker. September 29, 1997.


In the what-if world of Presidential political history, the brain tumor that, in 1991, took the life of Lee Atwater, the divertingly diabolical campaign tactician, went on to root itself in the realm of myth. Atwater’s premature demise, many Republicans have ruefully speculated, like the proverbial missing nail from the horse’s shoe, delivered George Bush to retirement four years earlier than he’d planned. An Atwater resurrection of sots was effected by the playwright Robert Myers, in the form of Fixin’ to Die, a one-man show first staged in Los Angeles in 1992 – but it was, oh wel, only a play, so Bush still lost the election. After sporadic productions in the intervening years, Fixin’ to Die has just opened for a six-week run Off Broadway.