Louis A. Garfinkle, 77; Screenwriter Co-Created Scriptwriting Software

From Times Staff Reports

Louis Alan Garfinkle, 77, a screenwriter who received an Academy Award nomination for “The Deer Hunter” and who co-created one of the first computer software programs for scriptwriters, died Monday at his Studio City home of complications from Parkinson’s disease.

Garfinkle was among the four people who devised the original story for the 1978 film, which won five Oscars, including that for best picture.

His interactive scriptwriting program, Collaborator, was said to be popular at studios and with stars trying to get projects going in the early 1990s. Garfinkle developed the program, which poses questions aimed at shaping a movie treatment and prods the writer to flesh out characters, with screenwriter Francis Feighan and director Cary Brown.

Among Garfinkle’s other screenwriting credits are “Face of Fire” (1959), “The Doberman Gang” (1972) and “Little Cigars” (1973). He also co-wrote the story for the 1973 Broadway musical “Molly,” which starred Kaye Ballard.


Garfinkle was born in Seattle and received his bachelor’s degree from USC in 1948.