Schrader, Leonard 1943-2006

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Schrader, Leonard 1943-2006

OBITUARY NOTICE— See index for CA sketch: Born 1943, in Grand Rapids, MI; died of heart failure, November 2, 2006, in Los Angeles, CA. Film director, educator, and author. Schrader was best known as the critically acclaimed screenwriter of the movie Kiss of the Spider Woman. Growing up the son of strict Calvinist parents, he knew little about American movies and television until he left home for college. Still, he proved himself a natural storyteller, and after attending Calvin College he earned an M.F.A. at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Schrader avoided the draft during the Vietnam War by moving to Japan. Here he taught American literature at Kyoto and Doshisha universities through the early 1970s and became fascinated with Japanese culture. This interest is evident in two films he wrote with his brother, Paul:The Yakuza (1975) and Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985). Kiss of the Spider Woman, also released in 1985, was Schrader’s adaptation of the Manuel Puig novel; it earned him an Oscar nomination for best screenplay based on material from another medium. His other films include Blue Collar (1978), which was another collaboration with his brother, Old Boyfriends (1979), and Naked Tango (1990), which he also directed. Although not a prolific screenwriter, Schrader had a great love of the medium, which he expressed as a popular faculty member at the University of Southern California and then at Chapman University. In 1999 he joined the American Film Institute as head of the graduate screenwriting program, and he was named senior filmmaker-in-residence and chair of the department in 2003.

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PERIODICALS

Los Angeles Times, November 5, 2006, p. B15. New York Times, November 7, 2006, p. C19.

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