Family of Late Playwright Leonard Melfi Awarded $1.25 Million After Marred Burial


The family of late playwright Leonard Melfi can finally rest easy after a 12-year legal battle.

According to The New York Post, Mount Sinai Hospital was ordered to pay $1.25 million to Melfi's family a New York City judge ruled last week, marking the end of a legal battle after the hospital's mishandling of his death and burial.

Co-writer of OH! CALCUTTA and creator of BIRDBATH, Melfi died in 2001 at 69, after a long bout with alcoholism. On the night of Oct. 28, 2001, Melfi called 9-1-1 after having issues breathing. Just hours after being checked into Mount Sinai, he passed away.

After his death, "doctors failed to notify the artist's next of kin of his death," and sent his body to a community college to be used for "embalming practice."

Melfi's body, unclaimed, was eventually "buried unceremoniously in a mass grave alongside 150 indigents."

Family members went in search of Melfi, where he was found in Potter's Field, where it was exhumed on April 10, 2002. Melfi was later bured with his family in Binghamton.

Spokespeople from Mount Sinai declined to comment to The Post, though Melfi's brother, John, is currently hoping to found a theater group in Leonard's honor.

"He may be dead, but his work will never die," he said.

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