Actor and playwright known for The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas

Born: June 1, 1934;

Died: December 19, 2018

PETER Masterson, who has died aged 84, was a playwright, filmmaker and actor whose credits included co-writing the Tony-winning musical The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas.

Born Carlos Masterson but known as Peter because his father preferred that name, Masterson often worked with family members. His cousin was the-Texas born playwright Horton Foote, who wrote the stage version of The Trip to Bountiful, the lyrical story of an elderly woman in Houston who longs to return to her home community. Geraldine Page won an Oscar for her starring performance in the 1985 film, which also featured Rebecca De Mornay and John Heard.

Masterson earlier had success in the theatre as one of the creators of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, inspired by the real-life Chicken Ranch brothel.

The story began as a 1974 Playboy article by Larry L. King and was expanded into a musical after a dinner party conversation among Masterson, King and the songwriter Carol Hall, who died last autumn.

Although described by The New York Times as an erratic and ambling, if sleekly produced, business, the play ran for more than three years on Broadway after opening in 1978.

Masterson received Tony nominations for direction and choreography, while his wife, Carlin Glynn, won a best actress Tony.

A 1982 film adaptation starring Burt Reynolds and Dolly Parton was a box office success but also a troubled production. Masterson was supposed to help direct and write the movie but Universal replaced him with Colin Higgins.

Meanwhile, Reynolds and Parton reportedly did not get along, with Parton later calling the film a nightmare.

In 1994, there was a stage sequel by the same team, The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public, but it did not do so well, closing after just 16 performances.

Masterson was born on June 1 1934 in Houston, Texas, and brought up in nearby Angleton, where his father was the district attorney. He studied history at Rice University, but decided he wanted to become an actor and studied at the Stella Adler Conservatory of Acting in New York.

He later worked with his daughter, Mary Stuart Masterson, known for such movies as Fried Green Tomatoes.

She made her debut in The Stepford Wives, the 1975 film version of Ira Levin's novel about the extreme submissiveness of women in a Connecticut suburb. Peter Masterson and Katharine Ross starred as newly arrived residents of Stepford, with Mary Stuart Masterson playing one of their two children.

His other acting credits included In the Heat of the Night, The Exorcist and Gardens of Stone.

Masterson also directed Convicts, starring Robert Duvall.

Away from acting, Masterson was a successful sailor and in 1957, with Bob Mosbacher, won the Scandinavian Gold Cup for the US and in 1990 skippered Above the Line, which took second place in the 5.5-metre World Championships off Torquay.

Masterson's son, also called Peter, said his father died from complications from Parkinson's disease at his home in Kinderhook, New York.

He is survived by his wife and by two daughters and a son.