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PILLOT, JOSEPH EUGENE

PILLOT, JOSEPH EUGENE (1886–1966). Joseph Eugene Pillot, playwright and song composer, the son of Teolin and Anna C. (Drescher) Pillot, was born on February 25, 1886, in Houston, Texas. He attended the University of Texas and Cornell University with the intention of studying law, but gave up that pursuit to enroll in the New York School of Fine and Applied Arts. He worked for a while as an interior decorator in New York, then entered the workshop course in play-writing at Harvard. He continued there for several years, writing and working with the Boston Community Players. He also took a drama course at Columbia. Pillot became a successful writer of one-act plays, many of which were widely produced on stage, radio, and television. His best-known play, Two Crooks and a Lady (1918), was first produced at Harvard and has been called a model of construction; it has been republished and produced many times. His other plays include My Lady Dreams (1922), Hunger, and The Sundial (probably 1920s). His works have been included in many anthologies and handbooks on the technique of play-writing.

Pillot was also a writer of songs, the most popular of which were "As a Snow White Swan" and "Let Not Your Song End." Most of Pillot's later writing was sacred music. He also wrote poetry. In 1955 he and artist Grace Spaulding John, in cooperation with the River Oaks Garden Club, produced a prose book, Azalea, the story of a real dog and two iron dogs that had guarded the Pillot residence in Houston for more than 100 years. In 1965 the family home was given to the Harris County Heritage and Conservation Society and moved to Sam Houston Park, where it was restored, furnished, given a historical marker, and opened to the public. Pillot was a member of the Poetry Society of Texas and the 1953 president of its Houston chapter. He never married. He died on June 4, 1966, and was buried in Glenwood Cemetery, Houston.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Grace Leake, "Eugene Pillot, Playwright," Holland's, May 1939. Eugene Pillot Collection, 1917–1955, Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Who's Who in the South and Southwest, 1961.

Julia Hurd Strong

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Julia Hurd Strong, "PILLOT, JOSEPH EUGENE," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fpi22), accessed April 19, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on November 12, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.