Chinatown screenwriter ROBERT TOWNE dies at 89

Wednesday, July 3, 2024 
-Robert Towne died at his home in Los Angeles on Monday, July 1.

The screenwriter, who arguably set a new industry standard with his Oscar-winning screenplay for Roman Polanski’s 1974 film Chinatown, was 89.  

 His publicist, Carri McClure, confirmed the news to The Hollywood Reporter.

 Often regarded as one of the best screenwriters of all time, the many scripts he worked on during his career include the Oscar-nominated screenplays for The Last Detail, Shampoo, and Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (though Towne wasn’t thrilled with production decisions on that last project, ultimately opting to be credited under the name of his dog, P.H. Vazak).

As a screenwriter, Towne also did uncredited work on films such as Bonnie and Clyde, The Godfather, The Parallax View, and Heaven Can Wait.

 When Francis Ford Coppola won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Godfather, he gave Towne a shoutout during his acceptance speech for writing “the very beautiful scene between Marlon and Al Pacino in the garden.”

Towne went on to direct several movies of his own, including Personal Best, Tequila Sunrise, and Ask the Dust.

Later in his career, he returned to TV as a consulting producer on Mad Men — and as recently as last month, Towne told Variety that he and David Fincher had finished writing all episodes of Netflix’s long-gestating Chinatown prequel series.



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