After a long illness, Dances With Wolves author and screenwriter Michael Blake died today in Tucson, Arizona where he and his family lived for many years.  He was 69. His passing was confirmed by his manager and producer Daniel Ostroff, who is working on a Dances With Wolves sequel, The Holy Road.

dancesBlake’s best known novel sold over 3.5 million copies, and was translated into 15 languages. The 1990 film, which Kevin Costner directed and starred in, won seven Oscars including Best Picture and Best Screenplay for Blake. He also won the WGA Award and Golden Globes for his script. Blake is survived by his widow, Marianne Mortensen Blake, whom he married in 1993. He is also survived by their three children, whom he named after historic Native Americans. The children’s names are 18-year old Quanah Valdemar Blake, 17-year old Monahsetah Dagmar Blake and 14-year old Lozen Ingefred Blake. He is also survived by a younger brother, Daniel Webb.

mb_and_mountain_lion_and_cub0001Blake also wrote the books The Holy Road, Airman Mortensen, Marching to Valhalla, Indian Yell, Twelve The King, and the autobiographical Like A Running Dog, which detailed his career in writing and Hollywood. A sequel to the latter book will be published soon. Blake was internationally acclaimed for his humanitarian work on behalf of Native Americans and America’s wild horses. The family is asking for privacy but asks that any donations be made in his name to ISPMB which benefits the horses he loved so much.

As for his screenplay work, Blake last adapted the classic German novel, Winnetou for Constantin Films. Costner, who collaborated with Blake on Stacey’s Knight and Dances With Wolves, commissioned Blake to write two other screenplays, The Mick and The One, the latter of which was based on a Blake short story. Broadway producer Matt Murphy develops a stage version of Dances With Wolves.