I had the pleasure of meeting novelist/screenwriter Alan Sharp while preparing the production notes for the 1983 Sam Peckinpah movie “The Osterman Weekend,” which was to be the director’s last. While that film did not mark either man’s finest hour, Sharp was one of Hollywood’s most respected screenwriters; he specialized in muscular western noir. He died last weekend at the age of 78 after a long illness.
Born in Scotland, after writing a series of novels, Sharp wrote the screenplays for Peter Fonda’s 1971 follow-up to “Easy Rider,” “The Hired Hand,” co-starring Fonda and Warren Oates; Robert Aldrich western “Ulzana’s Raid” (1972), starring Burt Lancaster; Arthur Penn’s iconic private eye thriller “Night Moves” (1975), starring Gene Hackman and Melanie Griffith; and Michael Caton-Jones’ 1995 Highland outlaw epic “Rob Roy,” starring Liam Neeson and Jessica Lange.
Sharp also directed the Margot Kidder comedy “Little Treasure” (1985). Writing for television on such series as “Ben-Hur” (2010) well into his mid-70’s, Sharp was one of the eldest working members of the Writers Guild. His final feature was “Dean Spanley,” a New Zealand picture starring Peter O’Toole and Jeremy Northam that was never released theatrically stateside. A few trailers are below.
Seattle critic Richard Jameson long deemed Sharp as “one of the great living screenwriters.”
A Memorial for Sharp will be held on Saturday, March 2 at the Jim Henson Studios on La Brea Boulevard in Los Angeles. For details, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org. In lieu of flowers, Sharp’s family asks that you make donations in Sharp’s name to the Johnnie Cochran Jr. Brain Tumor Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.