Don Payne, whose screenwriting credits include 2011’s Thor, Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer and My Super Ex-Girlfriend, and who was an award-winning writer/producer on The Simpsons, has died. He had been battling cancer. Payne started out in TV, hooking up with writing partner John Frink before graduating with a screenwriting master’s from UCLA. They penned episodes for such series as Hope & Gloria, The Brian Benben Show and Veronica’s Closet. Payne and Frink eventually joined The Simpsons in 1998, sharing in four Emmys for Outstanding Animated Program. In 2005, Payne received the WGA’s Paul Selvin Award for penning the Simpsons episode “Fraudcast News”, which skewered the TV news business. Another Simpsons episode — co-written as was the usual case with Frink — was “The Bart Wants What It Wants,” was nominated for a WGA Award for animation in 2003. Among his projects in the works, Payne, who described himself in a LA Times interview as “superhero geek”, wrote the first draft of Thor sequel Thor: The Dark World. He also was in development on Maximum Ride, based on the James Patterson books. In addition, as consulting producer he penned two Simpsons episodes that will air this fall: this year’s Christmas show “White Christmas Blues” and ‘Labor Pains”, which is set to air November 3. He is survived by his wife and three children.
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