Elizabeth Becker "Beth" Henley is an American dramatist and actress. She writes primarily about women's issues and family in the Southern United States. She is also a screenwriter who has written many film adaptations of her plays. She is known for her intertwining comic and serious moments in her pieces.
Her most famous play, Crimes of the Heart, was her first produced professionally. It opened at the Actors Theatre of Louisville and then to the Manhattan Theatre Club in New York City. The play won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, as well as the award for Best American Play of 1981 from the New York Drama Critics' Circle. The play also earned Henley a nomination for a Tony Award, and her screenplay adaptation for the 1986 film of the same name was nominated for an Oscar as Best Adapted Screenplay.
Henley adapted her 1984 play, The Miss Firecracker Contest, into a 1989 film starring Holly Hunter entitled Miss Firecracker. Henley's play Ridiculous Fraud was produced at the McCarter Theatre in 2006, and her play Family Week was produced at MCC Theater in 2010, directed by Jonathan Demme.