David French has died at age 71 after a long battle with brain cancer. The playwright was one of the seminal figures in the emergence of modern Canadian playwriting in the 1970s. His plays Leaving Home, part of his Mercer cycle, and Jitters, one of the great satires on Canadian theatre, are deeply loved and profoundly effective plays, major works that have been done all across Canada and the United States, and continue to be done by professional and amateur companies. French’s plays—most of which premiered at the Tarragon in Toronto in productions directed by Bill Glassco—were also among the first to present real Newfoundlanders on a stage speaking in real Newfoundland accents. These plays will last because they truly are genuine works of art written from the heart by one of our first major modern playwrights. French was a dominant force in our theatre through the 1970s and 1980s and continued to write and produce new work. His contribution to Canada's cultural life was enormous.