Alvin Sargent, Oscar-Successful ‘Julia’ and ‘Unusual Individuals’ Screenwriter, Dies at 92


Academy Award winner Alvin Sargent, who penned a rare variety of fashionable and critically profitable movies, from “Paper Moon” and “Unusual Individuals” to the “Spider-Man” sequels of the 2000s, died Thursday, his expertise company Gersh confirmed to Selection. He was 92.

Sargent received tailored screenplay Oscars for “Julia” in 1978 and “Unusual Individuals” in 1981 and was additionally nominated within the class in 1974 for “Paper Moon.” (He additionally obtained Writers Guild awards for all three movies.) The author labored with lots of Hollywood’s prime administrators over the course of his profession, together with Alan J. Pakula, John Frankenheimer, Paul Newman, Peter Bogdanovich, Sydney Pollack, Fred Zinnemann, Robert Redford, Martin Ritt, Norman Jewison, Stephen Frears and Wayne Wang.

Sargent began as a author for tv however broke into options along with his screenplay for 1966’s “Gambit,” a Ronald Neame-directed comedy thriller starring Michael Caine, Shirley MacLaine and Herbert Lom and sporting an fascinating, considerably uncommon tone. (The Coen brothers remade the movie in 2012.)

Subsequent for Sargent have been Gregory Peck Western “The Stalking Moon,” directed by Robert Mulligan; Alan J. Pakula’s eccentric love story “The Sterile Cuckoo,” which earned star Liza Minnelli an Oscar nomination for greatest actress; and John Frankenheimer’s “I Stroll the Line,” additionally with Peck.

The scribe returned to tv for some time within the early 1970s, penning two telepics, “The Impatient Coronary heart” and “Footsteps,” in addition to an episode of “Norman Corwin Presents.”

However Sargent quickly returned to bigscreen work, penning an adaptation of Paul Zindel’s play “The Impact of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds” for director Paul Newman and star Joanne Woodward. In 1973 he reunited with Pakula for “Love and Ache and the Entire Rattling Factor,” the story of an oddly matched couple performed by Maggie Smith and Timothy Bottoms.

Additionally in 1973, Sargent struck gold with the pleasant, charming “Paper Moon,” his adaptation of a novel by Joe David Brown directed by Bogdanovich. Sargent picked up his first Oscar nom for the hassle. He additionally penned two episodes when “Paper Moon” was tailored into a quick 1974 ABC collection.

Sargent did uncredited work on the 1976 remake of “A Star Is Born” that starred Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson.

In 1977 got here “Julia,” Sargent’s adaptation of Lillian Hellman’s ebook “Pentimento,” directed by Zinnemann and starring Jane Fonda, Jason Robards and Vanessa Redgrave, amongst others. The movie, about Hellman’s harmful mission into Nazi Germany throughout WWII, scored 11 Oscar nominations and received three, together with tailored screenplay for Sargent.

Sargent subsequent contributed to the script for “Straight Time,” a movie greatest recognized at the moment for Dustin Hoffman’s efficiency in it.

He tailored Judith Visitor’s novel “Unusual Individuals” for director Redford. This highly effective 1981 movie a couple of troubled teen with a bitter, repressed mom scored six Oscar noms, successful 4, with Sargent once more selecting up the tailored screenplay statuette.

Sargent didn’t have one other script produced till 1987’s Streisand starrer “Nuts,” a courtroom drama based mostly on Tom Topor’s play that drew combined evaluations. “Dominick and Eugene,” a comparatively small movie, drew respectable evaluations, whereas Might-December romancer “White Palace,” with Susan Sarandon and James Spader, garnered largely constructive evaluations.

Sargent and his life accomplice, producer Laura Ziskin, devised the story for the 1991 comedy “What About Bob,” which was then scripted by Bob Schulman. (After 25 years collectively, Sargent and Ziskin married in 2010, however she died of breast most cancers in June 2011.) The movie, starring Invoice Murray as a nutcase hounding psychiatrist Richard Dreyfuss, was each a business and important success.

In 1992, Sargent and Ziskin teamed once more on the story for “Hero,” with David Webb Peoples additionally contributing and writing the script. The movie, directed by Stephen Frears, aimed to resurrect the comedy of Preston Sturges.

The 1999 mother-daughter street film “Wherever However Right here,” starring Sarandon and Natalie Portman, drew constructive evaluations; the New York Occasions credited Sargent with enhancing upon the novel upon which it was based mostly.

In 2002, the steamy thriller “Untrue,” which Sargent and William Broyles Jr. tailored from the Claude Chabrol movie “La Femme infidele,” was a well-liked success, incomes $120 million worldwide.

Then got here a big shift in Sargent’s profession.

Ziskin, producer of 4 “Spider-Man” movies, introduced Sargent onto the primary one, launched in 2002, to do a rewrite. The extent of the contributions of the lengthy record of writers on this film has lengthy been a topic of controversy, and Sargent was not credited on the undertaking. However the movie grossed greater than $800 million worldwide, and he subsequently collaborated on the screenplays for “Spider-Man 2,” “Spider-Man 3” and “The Wonderful Spider-Man.” The success of the “Spider-Man” pics helped spur the manufacturing of a dizzying array of different comedian ebook movies within the 2000s.

Sargent, born Alvin Supowitz in Philadelphia, started his Hollywood profession with a quick uncredited position in “From Right here to Eternity.” As a author he first labored in tv, penning episodes of “Chevron Corridor of Stars” in 1956 and “G.E. True Theater” in 1960. He bought busier within the 1960s, scripting a number of episodes of “Bare Metropolis,” “Ben Casey,” “Route 66” and “The Docs and the Nurses,” amongst different credit.

Sargent’s brother, tv author and producer Herb Sargent, died in 2005. Earlier than Ziskin, Alvin Sargent was married to actress Joan Camden from 1953-75. She died in 2000.

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