Roger MacDougall; Playwright, Screenwriter on ‘White Suit’

<i> From Times Staff and Wire Reports</i>

Roger MacDougall, a screenwriter and playwright best known for his 1951 film “The Man in the White Suit,” has died at a home for actors outside London. He was 82.

MacDougall, who suffered from multiple sclerosis for four decades, died Thursday at Denville Hall in Northwood, the home reported Monday.

MacDougall’s satire on materialism, about a suit that would not wear out, was written with John Dighton and Alexander MacKendrick. It starred Alec Guinness.

MacDougall also co-wrote the screenplay for the 1959 comedy satire “The Mouse That Roared.”

Although he worked in film, his heart was in the theater.

“I am interested in words and ideas,” he once said. “Films are all what-happens-next. To me why-did-that-happen is more interesting. . . . Only in the theater is the writer in control.”


His plays included “The Gentle Gunman,” “To Dorothy a Son” and “MacAdam and Eve,” written in 1950; “Escapade,” 1952; “The Facts of Life,” 1954; “The Delegate,” 1955; “Double Image,” 1956; “Hide and Seek,” 1957; “Trouble With Father,” 1964, and “Jack in the Box,” 1971.

In the 1960s and ‘70s, MacDougall taught screenwriting in California, but he returned to England more than a decade ago.

MacDougall was born in Scotland on Aug. 2, 1910. After graduating from Glasgow University he headed to London and a career as a free-lance writer.

In 1935, he married Renee Dunlop, who died in 1977. He is survived by a daughter, Elspeth, of New York; a son, Lindsay, of London, and two grandchildren.