Frank Pierson was a successful screenwriter and director. His work on television and film was memorable. Because his father was a noted writer, his family and their lives were the subject of the 1945 film Roughly Speaking, starring Rosalind Russell and Jack Carson as his parents.
He began his career on the small screen as a script editor for Have Gun Will Travel. His teleplays included episodes on the Naked City, Route 66, and most recently, Mad Men and The Good Wife; and he also directed a number of those programs, as well as, The Bold Ones: The New Doctors.
Pierson was honored for his work on screen. Audiences remember the scene he wrote in Cool Hand Luke, when the warden tells the Paul Newman character: What we have here is failure to communicate! He was also the screenwriter on Cat Ballou, The Happening, The Anderson Tapes, and his award-winning work for Dog Day Afternoon (Attica…Attica). His only Oscar statuette followed. He contributed scripted scenes, and directed A Star is Born (1976).
In two stints in the 1980s and 1990s, Pierson was elected president of the Writers Guild of America (WGA); and he served as the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) from 2001-2005. In 1970, he directed The 42nd Annual Academy Awards.
Frank Pierson was 87.
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