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Obit: Screenwriter Frank Pierson Fought Against the Impoverishment of Film Language

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by Aljean Harmetz
July 23, 2012 7:04 PM
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For decades, as leader of the American Film Institute Conservatory Narrative Workshop, Pierson moderated sessions where teams of filmmakers presented their work to other AFI Fellows. His only rule: the filmmakers could not speak. "They were there to listen and learn," writes AFI chief Bob Gazzale in an email. "Frank led these gatherings with an iron fist and an open heart – challenging and inspiring a new generation to make movies – and always, to reach for more."

Born on May 12, 1925 in Chappaqua, New York and a graduate of Harvard University, Pierson got his first Hollywood break as script editor on the TV series, “Have Gun Will Travel.”  His movie credits as a writer include “Presumed Innocent” and “King of the Gypsies,” which he also directed.

He is survived by his wife, Helene, two children – Michael and Eve – and five grandchildren.

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