James Costigan, the Emmy Award-winning TV writer and Broadway dramatist, was born James Smith in East Los Angeles, California on March 31, 1926. He won three Emmy Awards, for "Little Moon of Alban" (which appeared on the Hallmark Hall of Fame) in 1959; Love Among the Ruins (1975), a TV movie starring Katharine Hepburn and Laurence Olivier in 1976; and Eleanor and Franklin (1976) in 1977. He was also nominated for an Emmy for his adaptation of Henry James's Startime: The Turn of the Screw (1959) in 1960.
He established himself as a TV screenwriter during the Golden Age of TV drama in the 1950s, when he wrote for the anthology series, including General Electric Theater, Studio One, and the United States Steel Hour. In the early 1960s, Costigan tried to establish himself as a Broadway playwright, but did not achieve the success he had experienced on television. "Little Moon of Alban" was staged on Broadway in 1960 but closed after 20 performances. "The Beast in Me", a musical based on James Thurber's fables for which he wrote the book and lyrics and even acted in, was a bigger flop, closing after just four performances.
His last Broadway play, the 1964 comedy "Baby Want a Kiss", was a relative success. Put on under the aegis of the Actor's Studio and starring superstar Paul Newman and his wife, Oscar-winner Joanne Woodward, the play ran for 148 performances.
James Costigan died of heart failure on December 19, 2007. He was 81 years old.