Syd Field, ‘guru of all screenwriters,’ has died at 77


Syd Field, described by many in the film community as the “guru of all screenwriters,” has died at age 77.

According to his website, Field died Sunday of hemolytic anemia at his Beverly Hills home, surrounded by his wife, family and friends.

Field was the author of eight books, mostly notably “Screenplay: The Basics of Film Writing,” considered the the industry’s most authoritative guide to screenwriting. It is credited with helping establish the now traditional three-act structure for feature film scripts.


Published in 1979, “Screenplay” has been translated into 23 languages and used as a textbook in over 400 colleges and universities around the world.

PHOTOS: Notable deaths of 2013

His gifted students include screenwriter/directors Judd Apatow and Frank Darabont, and producer Lynda Obst.

A native of Hollywood, Field earned a B.A. in English literature from UC Berkeley and began his career inauspiciously in the shipping department at Wolper Productions. Field went on to write and do research for several productions there including the original “Biography” TV series.

He also chaired the Academic Liaison Committee at the Writers Guild of America, was a lecturer at USC and the American Film Institute and worked as a script consultant at several studios including Twentieth Century Fox, Disney and Universal.

Field gave his final speech on “Why We are Storytellers” in September at the Story Expo in Los Angeles, for which he received a standing ovation.


A memorial service will be announced.


Box office: A holiday for for ‘Best Man’

‘The Great Beauty’ follows a misanthrope in modern RomeOscars honor Angelina Jolie, Steve Martin, Angela Lansbury