Writer-director Frank Pierson died Monday at the age of 87, according to The Hollywood Reporter. In addition to winning an Oscar for his “Dog Day Afternoon” screenplay, Pierson was very active in the industry, with stints as president of the Writers Guild of America, West, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and artistic director of the American Film Institute.
Additional writing credits of Pierson’s include “Cat Ballou,” “Presumed Innocent,” “Cool Hand Luke,” “In Country” and “The Looking Glass War,” which was also his directing debut in 1969. Pierson was also very active in TV writing and directing, on shows and films such as “Have Gun Will Travel,” “Naked City,” “Truman” and “Citizen Cohen.”
Read the full THR obit.
UPDATE: AMPAS has just released this statement from the Pierson family:
Oscar-winning screenwriter Frank Pierson died today in Los Angeles of natural causes following a short illness. He was 87.
A three-time Academy Award® nominee, Pierson won an Oscar for his original screenplay of “Dog Day Afternoon.” He received nominations for “Cat Ballou” and “Cool Hand Luke.” Pierson’s writing credits also include “Presumed Innocent” and “A Star Is Born,” which he also directed.
Pierson was currently working as Writer and Consulting Producer on the Emmy Award®-winning drama “Mad Men” and had served the same duties on numerous episodes of “The Good Wife.”
Pierson was president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from 2001-2005 and had served as Governor of the Writers Branch for 17 years.
Pierson is survived by his wife Helene, his children Michael and Eve and five grandchildren.
There will be a private funeral for the family this week. A public memorial will be planned in the near future.
The family requests contributions are made to STAND UP 2 CANCER.
Statement from Phil Robinson, Academy Governor (Writers Branch):
Young rock ‘n rollers always look to the old bluesmen as models of how to keep their art strong and rebellious into older years. For screenwriters, Frank has been our old blues master for a long time. From great, great movies like “Cat Ballou”, “Cool Hand Luke”, and “Dog Day Afternoon”, to his joining the writing staffs of “The Good Wife” and “Mad Men” well past his 80th birthday, he’s always shown us – better than anyone else – how to do it with class, grace, humor, strength, brilliance, generosity, and a joyful tenacity.
He was both a great and a good man, I miss him already, and I feel very, very lucky to have known him.
Statement from Susan B. Landau:
I am deeply saddened to announce the sudden passing of Frank Pierson who was an iconic, titanic figure in the Hollywood community. The Oscar-winning writer was a celebrated director, the former President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Writers Guild, a dedicated member of the Directors Guild and the former Artistic Director of AFI. He was fiercely dedicated to his wife and children, his friends, his politics, to the Hollywood community, and to young filmmakers all over the world with whom he was in constant touch. He was thrilled be part of the “Mad Men” community at the time of his passing.