‘Georgia’ screenwriter Barbara Turner dead at 79

Los Angeles, April 6 (IANS) Barbara Turner, the screenwriter of “Georgia”, “Petulia” and “Pollock”, among numerous other features for film and television, has passed away. She was 79.

Turner died here on Tuesday. Among Turner’s children was actress Jennifer Jason Leigh, reports variety.com.

After high school, Turner attended the University of Texas for a year, then returned to New York to study acting first at the Dramatic Workshop and later with Paul Mann, where she met Vic Morrow, who became her first husband.

In the late 1950s, Turner and Morrow moved to Hollywood, where she began acting in theater and on television series such as “Playhouse 90” and “Alfred Hitchcock Presents.” Turner’s first screenplay was an adaptation of the Jean Genet play “Deathwatch”, directed by Morrow in 1966.

She received a Writers’ Guild of America nomination for her adaptation of “Petulia” (directed by Richard Lester in 1968), an Emmy nomination for TV movie “The War Between the Tates” (1977), Emmy and Writers Guild nominations for HBO movie “Hemingway & Gelhorn” (2012), and the Christopher Award for “Eye of the Sparrow” (1987). She was also a Humanitas Award finalist for the TV movies “Widow” and “Out of Darkness” (1994).

In 1994, Turner produced her screenplay “Georgia” with her daughter Leigh and the film’s director Ulu Grosbard. The film won the 1995 Montreal Film Festival’s Grand Prix of the Americas and a best actress award for Leigh.

Leigh was also honoured for her performance by the New York Film Critics Circle, and co-star Mare Winningham received an Oscar nomination for best supporting actress.

Turner’s other feature screenplay credits include “Pollock” (2000), adapted from the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography “Jackson Pollock: An American Saga”, by Steven Naifehand Gregory White Smith, and directed by and starring Ed Harris.

Turner also wrote the screenplay for Robert Altman’s film “The Company” (2003), starring Neve Campbell, Malcolm McDowell and James Franco.

Turner’s unproduced screenplays include the adaptations “Headlong”, based on the Michael Frayn novel of the same name; “Knowledge of Angels”, based on Jill Paton Walsh’s novel; and “Barn Blind”, based on Jane Smiley’s novel. Among her original screenplays are “Beautiful View”, “Under Heaven” and “Once Again for Zelda.”

She is survived by her three daughters, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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