- John A. Willis (left) with actor Dylan Baker
John A. Willis, whose photo-packed Theatre World and Screen World book series were essential reading for generations of movie and theater fans, died June 25 at his home in New York City of complications from lung cancer. He was 93. Acknowledged as one of America’s most important theater and film historians, Willis was also the longtime producer of the Theatre World Awards, given to actors for outstanding Broadway and Off-Broadway debut performances. It’s one of the oldest awards bestowed on New York stage actors; recipients over the years have included Marlon Brando, Burt Lancaster, Carol Channing, Judy Holliday, Alan Alda, Bernadette Peters, and John Leguizamo, among many others.