He was an award-winning playwright called 'one of the greatest contemporary playwrights the theater world has yet produced' by the New York Observer in 2014. He wrote over 30 plays, 10 musicals, four operas, four screenplays, and several TV projects.
In a 2019 interview with The Columbian, McNally spoke about his smoking habit. He was up to 3 packs a day when he was 40 years old, but he quit, which he says was 'very hard' To do. He thought after 20 years of not smoking, he had dodged the lung cancer bullet. But I hadn't,' said McNally. 'I'm dealing with lung cancer, so every day is a treat and a blessing '