The untold story of what would become one of the most beloved touchstones of Southern culture by Julia Reed April/May 2017
This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of Steel Magnolias, a play Robert Harling wrote just months after his sister, Susan, died of complications from diabetes. Written as a tribute to the strength of his sister, his mother, and the coterie of women who supported them, the work broke records at the Lucille Lortel Theatre in Manhattan, where it ran almost three years. It has since been performed in dozens of countries, including Sweden, South Africa, India, South Korea, and Japan. Less than a year into the play’s run, the legendary producer Ray Stark bought the film rights, and in 1988 it was made into a movie starring Sally Field and Julia Roberts as the mother/daughter characters, M’Lynn and Shelby.