Robert Towne: The Oscar winner and director is dead

Robert Towne: The Oscar winner and director is dead
Robert Towne: The Oscar winner and director is dead

He won an Oscar in the 1970s for his screenplay for “Chinatown.” Now the US director Robert Towne is dead.

Mourning for Robert Towne (1934-2024): The US screenwriter, actor and director, who won an Oscar for “Chinatown” in 1974, died on July 1 in Los Angeles surrounded by his family. His press spokeswoman said he was 89 years old. No details are known about the cause of death.

Towne was born on November 23, 1934 in Los Angeles, California, the son of a clothing store owner and a real estate entrepreneur. His Jewish family raised him in the San Pedro and Rolling Hills neighborhoods. His younger brother Roger Towne (84) is also in the film business.

Famous classmates

Robert Towne started his career as a screenwriter by taking an acting course with the recently deceased director Roger Corman (1926-2024). Jack Nicholson (87), Irvin Kershner (1923-2010) and Sally Kellerman (1937-2022) were among his classmates at the time.

Towne played a leading role in Roger Corman’s film “Creature from the Haunted Sea” in 1961. He then began writing for shows such as “The Lloyd Bridges Show,” “Breaking Point” and “The Outer Limits.” Towne wrote the screenplay for the film “The Tomb of Lygeia” (1965), directed by Corman.

From “Chinatown” to “Mission: Impossible”

Just two years later, Robert Towne was also involved in the screenplay for the gangster film “Bonnie and Clyde”. In 1974, the Oscar-winning crime film “Chinatown” was released – in which his former classmate Jack Nicholson played the leading role.

Other major films on his list of screenplays were “Shampoo” (1975), the sequel to “The Two Jakes” (1990), “Mission: Impossible” (1996) and “Mission: Impossible II” (2000). In 1972, Towne also completed the screenplay for “The Godfather” that he had already started. His last work was his drama “Ask the Dust” from 2006 with Salma Hayek (57) and Colin Farrell (48).

Source: Stern

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