‘Romancing the Stone’ Writer Killed in Car Crash

Times Staff Writer

Screenwriter Diane Renee Thomas, who gained fame six years ago when she sold the screenplay for “Romancing the Stone,” was killed in a 80-m.p.h. car crash on Pacific Coast Highway, police reported today.

Thomas, 39, died when her Porsche Carrera, being driven by her boyfriend, actor Stephen Norman, 27, spun out of control on the wet highway and smashed into a power pole Monday night, Officer John Balicki said. Another passenger, Ian Young, 40, of Peterhead, Scotland, was airlifted to UCLA Medical Center, where he died two hours later, Balicki said.

Norman, who escaped serious injury, will be charged with vehicular manslaughter, Balicki said. Police estimated that the car was traveling at 8O m.p.h. when it hit the power pole, which sheered off at the base.


Norman told police that the three had attended classes earlier in the evening at Pepperdine University and then stopped for drinks on the way home. “They decided that since he (Norman) had had the least to drink, he should drive,” Balicki said.

Thomas, who studied acting and writing, found it hard to make a living in the film industry and worked as a waitress in a Malibu restaurant while writing the screenplay for “Romancing the Stone” in her spare time.

“It paid my rent, it kept me in typewriter ribbons,” she said at the time.

It was the first screenplay she ever wrote. She labored over it for a year.

And when she had finished it she sold it to Columbia Pictures and producer Michael Douglas for $250,000.