From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Mark O’Donnell (July 19, 1954 – August 6, 2012) was an American writer and humorist. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, he received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard College in 1976. He was a member of the Harvard Lampoon, where he held the position of Ibis. He was the writer and librettist for three Hasty Pudding musicals for the Hasty Pudding Theatricals group.
O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan shared the 2003 Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Book of a Musical for their work on Hairspray, and they wrote the 2007 film adaptation. The pair also worked on another John Waters musical adaptation, Cry-Baby, for which they received a 2008 Tony nomination.
A 1980 article he wrote for Esquire, "O'Donnell's Laws of Cartoon Motion," was both widely quoted ("1. Any body suspended in space will remain suspended in space until made aware of its situation") and widely circulated by fans of cartoon physics.
O’Donnell was the identical twin of television writer Steve O’Donnell.
He died in 2012 after collapsing in his apartment in Manhattan. He was 58.