July 3, 2024

Oscar-winning Writer Dead at 89

The writer of one of the most iconic movies of the 1970s has passed away.

Robert Towne, who wrote “Chinatown,” died on Monday.

He was 89 years old.

Another Hollywood Legend is Gone

According to Towne’s family, he passed away at his Los Angeles home on Monday surrounded by loved ones.

Towne won an Oscar for “Chinatown,” which debuted in 1974.

The cast was packed with legends both present and future at the time, which included Faye Dunaway, Jack Nicholson, John Hillerman, Perry Lopez, Burth Young, and John Huston.

This was far from Towne’s only hit, as he also wrote “Shampoo” and “The Last Detail,” two more films that warranted Oscar nominations for Towne.

Author Sam Wasson stated, "Robert Towne once said that Chinatown is a state of mind.

"Not just a place on the map in Los Angeles, but a condition of total awareness almost indistinguishable from blindness.

“Dreaming you’re in paradise and waking up in the dark — that’s Chinatown. Thinking you’ve got it figured out and realizing you’re dead — that’s Chinatown."

The American Film Institute (AFI) also paid tribute to Towne, writing, "Farewell to the legendary Robert Towne.

"From writing masterpieces like CHINATOWN, SHAMPOO & countless others, his influence is everlasting. Honored with an AFI honorary degree in 2014 for his contribution to the art form, his legacy will continue to inspire filmmakers everywhere."

Film critic Michael Sragow once wrote about Towne, "He knows how to use sly indirection, canny repetition, unexpected counterpoint and a unique poetic vulgarity to stretch a scene or an entire script to its utmost emotional capacity.

"He’s also a lush visual artist with an eye for the kind of images that go to the left and right sides of the brain simultaneously."

It is yet another big name from an era of filmmaking we are likely to never see again.

This was a time when true originals were made, where now, it seems as though the big screen is filled with nothing but sequels, remakes, and Marvel movies.

We have truly seen the end of an era.

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