April 12, 1927
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
May 9, 2019
Seattle, Washington, United States
Philadelphia-born Alvin Sargent was in his mid-30s when he began his career as a screenwriter. He honed his craft penning teleplays for such early 1960s series as "Alfred Hitchcock Presents." "Naked City," "Route 66" and "Ben Casey." Segueing to features in 1966, he shared screen credit on the Shirley MacLaine-Michael Caine vehicle "Gambit." Sargent went on to distinguish himself as a fine adapter of literary material. While his produced oeuvre is not terribly prolific, it has yielded a number of gems and the screenwriter has proven effective at finding a visual equivalent for the written word. Sargent received solo credit on "The Sterile Cuckoo" (1969) which provided a meaty role for Liza Minnelli and earned his first Academy Award nomination for "Paper Moon" (1973), his fine rendering of Joe David Brown's novel "Addie Pray." While he faltered with the race car romance "Bobby Deerfield" (1977), he took home an Oscar for his lyrical script to "Julia" (also 1977), adapted from Lillian Hellman's memoirs. Sargent won a deserved second statuette from the Academy for his fine rendering of "Ordinary People" (1980), drawn from Judith Guest's novel. He went on to share screen credit on the courtroom drama "Nuts" (1987) and the older woman-younger man romance "White Palace" (1990). For director Norman Jewison, Sargent scripted the slick screen version of Jerry Sterner's hit Off-Broadway play "Other People's Money" (1991) but stumbled with the screenplay for the fantasy "Bogus" (1996), also for Jewison. Three years later, he penned the screenplay adaptation for "Anywhere But Here."