- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 16, 2015

PRAGUE (AP) - Josef Topol, considered with the late Vaclav Havel to be the leading Czech playwrights of the second half of the 20th century, has died at age 80.

Czech public television said Topol died Monday, citing his family.

In the mid-1960s, Topol co-founded Prague’s Theater Beyond the Gate, an influential theater led by director Otomar Krejca. After the 1968 Soviet invasion crushed the liberal reforms in Czechoslovakia, ending an era known as the Prague Spring, the theater was closed and Topol was banned. He later signed the Charter 77 human rights manifesto inspired by Havel.

Today his best plays, including “End of Carnival” and “Cat on the Rails” repeatedly return to the stage here.

Topol is survived by son Jachym, a writer.

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