James Salter, a critically acclaimed author who also indulged an ultimately unsatisfactory flirtation with Hollywood, has died. He was 90 and lived in Bridgehampton, NY but passed away Friday in Sag Harbor, his widow Kay Eldredge confirmed to the New York Times.
Downhill Racer (1969), directed by Michael Ritchie and starring Robert Redford as a member of the U.S. ski team, was his most successful film. It also starred Gene Hackman, Camilla Sparv and Dabney Coleman. His book about climbing, Solo Faces, sprang from an idea for a screenplay for Redford.
Other films included Three (1969), which he directed, starring Charlotte Rampling, Robie Porter and Sam Waterston; and the artificial heart transplant drama Threshold (1983), directed by Richard Pearce and starring Donald Sutherland, John Marley, Mare Winningham and Michael Learner.
On another 1969 release, The Appointment, he shared screenwriting credit with Antonio Leonviola. It was directed by Sidney Lumet and starred Omar Sharif and Anouk Aimee. Years later he wrote the screenplay for the New Zealand film Broken English (1996) with the movie’s director Gregor Nicholas and Johana Pigott.
His novels included The Hunters and a subsequent memoir Burning The Days, A Sport And A Pastime, Light Years and All That Is.