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Obit: 'Night Moves' Screenwriter Alan Sharp, Memorial Planned

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood February 13, 2013 at 3:40PM

I had the pleasure of talking by phone to 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.
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Alan Sharp
Alan Sharp

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: alansharpmemorial@sbcglobal.net. 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.

This article is related to: Obit, Stuck In Love, Screenwriters


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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.