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RIP Screenwriter and Reel Geezer Lorenzo Semple, Jr. (VIDEOS)

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood March 30, 2014 at 2:51PM

Remembering screenwriter Lorenzo Semple, Jr., who has died at 91. He wrote "Three Days of the Condor," "Flash Gordon," "Pretty Poison," "Never Say Never Again," "King Kong," "The Parallax View," "The Super Cops," "Fathom" and the "Batman" TV series.
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Lorenzo Semple, Jr.
Lorenzo Semple, Jr.

Screenwriter Lorenzo Semple,. Jr. died Friday of natural causes at his Los Angeles home. He had just turned 91 the day before. 

Born Lorenzo Semple III in Westchester, New York, the writer's uncle was playwright Philip Barry ("The Philadelphia Story"). Semple studied at Yale before driving an ambulance in the Mideast during World War II, earning the Croix de Guerre, followed by a stint in the Army, emerging with a Bronze Star. 

He started out his career writing short stories for the Saturday Evening Post and Time, and after finishing his degree in drama at Columbia, he wrote several plays, several of which were mounted and acquired by Hollywood. 

He was mentored by TV producer Aaron Spelling ("Burke's Law"). And he created the original campy "Batman" TV series starring Adam West, which spawned a 1966 movie which he also wrote. 

Semple moved to Hollywood during "Batman," where he wrote screenplays (along with other writers) for 70s paranoid thrillers "Three Days of the Condor" and "The Parallax View" as well as "Fathom," "The Drowning Pool," "Papillon," Dino De Laurentiis' "King Kong," "Flash Gordon" and the last Sean Connery Bond film, "Never Say Never Again."

After teaching writing at NYU, well into his 80s Semple started a second career as a YouTube video film critic, as one of two refreshingly candid "Reel Geezers," with his friend, producer Marcia Nasatir. “We had such fun doing it,” Nasatir told the THR. “He was a wonderful, smart, funny guy and a great friend.” Happily I got to meet this sharp and charming man through Nasatir. 

He is survived by his wife Joyce and three children, Johanna, Lorenzo and TV writer Maria ("Mad About You," "Arrested Development"), whose novel "Where'd You Go, Bernadette" is being made into a movie.

Here's the LATimes.

This article is related to: Video, Video, Obit


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.