Legendary Screenwriter Robert Towne Dies at 89: Remembering His Impact on Hollywood

LOS ANGELES, CA – Legendary screenwriter Robert Towne, known for his Oscar-winning work on “Chinatown,” has passed away at the age of 89. Towne died in his Los Angeles home, surrounded by his family, according to his publicist, Carri McClure.

In addition to “Chinatown,” released in 1974, Towne was also well-known for his work on films like “Shampoo” starring Warren Beatty and “The Last Detail,” which earned him Academy Award nominations. Sam Wasson, the author of “The Big Goodbye: Chinatown and the Last Years of Hollywood,” once reflected on Towne’s work, describing “Chinatown” as a state of mind rather than just a location in Los Angeles.

Actress Lee Grant expressed her shock and sadness at the news of Towne’s passing, praising his incisive and original creations. The American Film Institute (AFI) paid tribute to the esteemed writer, highlighting his contributions to the film industry.

Towne himself reflected on his career in a 2009 interview, expressing both satisfaction and regrets. He was candid about his creative journey, acknowledging the highs and lows of his professional life. Towne’s use of a pseudonym for the film “Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes” showcased his dedication to his craft.

Throughout his career, Towne worked on a variety of successful projects, including “Tequila Sunrise,” “The Firm,” “Days of Thunder,” and “Mission: Impossible.” His impact on the film industry was profound, with his work on iconic films like “The Godfather” and “Bonnie and Clyde” receiving recognition and praise.

Towne’s legacy as a masterful storyteller and visionary writer continues to inspire filmmakers and audiences alike, leaving an indelible mark on the world of cinema.