Robert Towne, ‘Chinatown’ Screenwriter, Dies at 89 in Los Angeles

Photo of author
Written By Lori Walker

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur pulvinar ligula augue quis venenatis. 

Robert Towne, a celebrated writer and director known for his screenplay for “Chinatown,” has passed away at 89. He died at his home in Los Angeles, as confirmed by his publicist Carrie McClure.

Towne began his career in the 1960s, working with director Roger Corman and quickly gaining recognition for his scriptwriting skills. He became renowned as a script doctor, often called upon to improve and reshape scripts for various films. In the 1970s, Towne achieved critical acclaim with hits like “The Last Detail” (1973), “Chinatown” (1974), and “Shampoo” (1975), all of which earned Oscar nominations.

His collaboration with Warren Beatty on “Bonnie and Clyde” (1967) was particularly notable, where Towne restructured scenes to enhance dramatic impact. Despite much of his work going uncredited, Towne’s influence was widely felt in films like “The Parallax View” (1974) and “Marathon Man” (1976).

“Chinatown,” directed by Roman Polanski, stands as one of Towne’s crowning achievements, portraying the dark underbelly of Los Angeles. His script not only secured Jack Nicholson’s place as a leading star but also left a lasting impact on cinema.

Towne’s career spanned directing efforts as well, though they often received less commercial success than his writing. His works included “Personal Best” (1982) and “Tequila Sunrise” (1988).

In recent years, Towne had been involved in a Netflix series prequel to “Chinatown,” showcasing his enduring influence on storytelling in Hollywood.

Robert Towne is survived by his daughters Katherine and Chiara.

Leave a Comment