P.S. Your Cat Is Dead

P.S. Your Cat is Dead
Author James Kirkwood, Jr.
Language English
Publisher Puffin Books
Publication date
Media type Print (Paperback)
Pages 223 pages
ISBN 978-0446829342

P.S. Your Cat Is Dead is a novel by James Kirkwood, Jr., original published in 1972, adapted from his play. The book and play were later adapted to film.


Abandoned by his girlfriend on New Year's Eve, and still unaware that his beloved cat Bobby Seale has died in an animal clinic, hopeless New York actor Jimmy Zoole is feeling depressed and unstable when he happens across a cat burglar, Vito, in his apartment. Furious, he beats the stranger unconscious and ties him to his kitchen sink. Jimmy begins to torment his terrified captive; however, the unlikely pair soon establish a certain bond. Vito once had a wife who left him after she discovered he was gay, and took their child with her. Jimmy questions his own orientation as his relationship to Vito takes on a homosexual dimension, and decides to use his prisoner to exact revenge on his former lover. In the end, Jimmy and Vito, now working as a team, are able to sell a stash of stolen drugs and run away together.


In his James Kirkwood biography Ponies & Rainbows, Sean Egan traces the genesis of the play, which had its roots in a series of burglaries at Kirkwood’s West 58th St New York apartment. The book also features a photograph of Gino Marino, a friend and lover of Kirkwood’s upon whom Egan claims the author based the character Vito.

1975 Broadway production

After five previews, the Broadway production, directed by Vivian Matalon, opened on April 7, 1975 at the John Golden Theatre, where it ran for 16 performances. The cast included Keir Dullea, Tony Musante, and Jennifer Warren. Drama Desk Award nominations went to Kirkwood for Outstanding New Play and Musante for Outstanding Actor in a Play.

After changes were made to the script in the early 1980s, the play re-opened Off Broadway at Circle in the Square Downtown with a new cast including Zeljko Ivanek as Vito.

Mexican play

In Mexico, this play was first produced in 1983 under the title "P.D. Tu gato ha muerto" and starred Manuel Ojeda as Jimmy and Humberto Zurita as Eddie. It was also produced from 1997 to 2000 and starred Otto Sirgo in the role of Jimmy. The role of Eddie throughout the years went to Héctor Soberón, Juan Soler, Xavier Ortiz, Héctor Suarez Gomiz, Javier Poza and Sebastián Rulli. The play was also presented in several cities of the United States when Juan Soler was part of the cast.

2002 film

In 2002, Steve Guttenberg combined the play and novel into a feature film, which he co-wrote with Jeff Korn and directed, starring himself as the writer, Cynthia Watros as his newly-ex-girlfriend Kate, and Lombardo Boyar as the youthful burglar Eddie. It was screened at the 2002 Philadelphia International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.

Brazilian play

In 2004 the play was produced in São Paulo, with the title “P.S.: Seu Gato Morreu”, directed by Jarbas Homem de Mello, and had Teco Tavares - who also produced and translated the play to Portuguese - in the role of Jimmy Zoole, and Paula Picarelli as Kate. The roles of Vito and Fred were played by Luís Araújo and Eduardo Estrela, respectively.

German play

The first performance of a German version of the play took place on 29 January 2011 in Berlin at "Jüdisches Theater Bimah", directed by Thomas Maul. While the roles of Vito (played by Markus Riexinger) and Jimmy's girlfriend Kate (Katrin Stephan) were taken from the original play as they are, Jimmy Zoole was turned into a woman: Jenny Zola (Jasmin Steck), turning the relationship with Kate into a lesbian one.

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