Screenwriter won Oscars for Julia and Ordinary People and won praise for Spider-Man
The Oscar-winning screenwriter Alvin Sargent, who also wrote several Spider-Man movies, has died. He was 92.
News of Sargents death from natural causes at his home in Seattle was released by the producer Pam Williams, a friend.
Sargent started out writing for television and had his first film hit with the Michael Caine caper Gambit in 1966. His output was as varied as it was prodigious: he won Oscars for the 1977 Holocaust drama Julia and for Ordinary People (1980), which dealt with the effects of bereavement. He was nominated in 1974 for Paper Moon, a Peter Bogdanovich-directed comedy set in the Great Depression.
In the 2000s, Sargent wrote the screenplays for the director Sam Raimis second and third Spider-Man films, starring Tobey Maguire. In 2012, he did a rewrite for a series reboot starring Andrew Garfield, The Amazing Spider-Man.
Among early tributes on social media, the author Mark Harris said Sargent was an exemplary screenwriter. Paper Moon, Ordinary People and Spider-Man 2 are all, in their very different ways, master classes tone-perfect, impeccably structured, witty, human, worth visiting and revisiting.
Among other films on which Sargent worked were the Barbra Streisand vehicle A Star is Born, in 1976; the Dustin Hoffman crime drama Straight Time, from 1978; comedies What About Bob? and Other Peoples Money, both from 1991; the 1988 family drama Dominick and Eugene; and Unfaithful, a thriller about adultery starring Richard Gere and Diane Lane and released in 2002.
The producer Craig Mazin said Sargent was the patron saint of unpigeonholeable screenwriters and added: Good night, sir.
Born Alvin Supowitz in Philadelphia on 12 April 1927, Sargent said in 2008 he spent much of his childhood safe in the dark at the movies. During the second world war, he dropped out of high school in order to serve in the navy. Through learning Morse code, he said, he learned to type really well, and that was my one skill in life.
After the war, he said, looking for purpose, he took jobs to earn a living but my one passion was typing. Not writing.
He tried acting and had a small part in the 1953 war film From Here to Eternity, a best picture winner. Among early television writing jobs were scripts for the General Electric Theater, Naked City and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.
First married to the actor Joan Camden, who died in 2000, Sargent had two daughters, Amanda and Jennifer. Sargent and Camden divorced in 1975. He married the producer Laura Ziskin, who was behind the Spider-Man films, in 2010, after 25 years together. She died a year later.
Among quotes attributed to Sargent is one about his hoped-for epitaph.
When I die, he said, Im going to have written on my tombstone, Finally, a plot.
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