Ronald Harwood, Oscar-winning screenwriter of ‘The Pianist,’ dies at 85

Ronald Harwood, Oscar-winning screenwriter of ‘The Pianist,’ dies at 85

Sir Ronald Harwood, an Oscar-winning screenwriter and playwright, died on Tuesday of natural causes, his agent told BBC on Wednesday. He was 85.

The British writer won the Academy Award for best adapted screenplay for Roman Polanski’s “The Pianist” in 2003. Harwood was nominated in the same category for Peter Yates’ “The Dresser” in 1983 and “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” in 2007.

Harwood was highly regarded as one of Britain’s most successful post-war dramatic scribes. Two of his plays, “The Dresser” and “Quartet,” were adapted from stage plays to the big screen. His other screenwriting credits include Baz Luhrmann’s “Australia,” starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, Polanski’s 2005 adaptation of “Oliver Twist,” “Being Julia” starring Annette Bening, “Love in the Time of Cholera” and more.

Some of this written stage plays include “Taking Tea With Stalin,” “Taking Sides,” “Ivanov,” “The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold” and many others.

The writer received several honors throughout his esteemed career. He received a knighthood for his services to drama during the Queen’s Birthday Honors in 2010, two years after he won a BAFTA award for best adaptation of “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.”

Harwood was chairman of the Royal Society of Literature from 2001 to 2004, and he was president of the Royal Literary Fund since 2005. In 1974, he was made a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, a knight of France’s Order of Arts and Letters in 1996 and a commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1999. In 2014, Harwood received the National Jewish Theatre Foundation’s lifetime achievement award.

He is survived by his three children Antony, Deborah and Alexandra.

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