Patricia Louisiana Knop Dies: Screenwriter For ‘9 1/2 Weeks’ And ‘Wild Orchid’ Was 78

Gina Resnick

Patricia Louisiana Knop, a film screenwriter and television producer known for 9 1/2 Weeks, Wild Orchid and the Showtime series Red Shoe Diaries, died at age 78 on Aug. 7 in Santa Monica, Calif. from what her publicist said was a lengthy illness.

She was married for 46 years to producer/director Zalman King, who collaborated with her on many projects, including the scripts for Wild Orchid and 9 1/2 Weeks. He died in 2012.

Knop was born on Oct. 23, 1940 in Muskegon, Michigan. As a teenager longing for adventure, she wrote to the captain of a boat docked in Florida, and asked if she might join his crew.  He said yes, so she boarded a train and made the long journey alone, only to discover that the captain had no idea who she was and what he had agreed to. However, he took her on.

At sea, she met and fell in love with fellow crewman Zalman King Lefkowitz. When they returned to dry land, they moved together to Los Angeles, struggling at first so much that their first apartment was a supply closet and their first bed a door laid across two chairs. However, they persevered, and Knop went on to write or co-write Siesta,  9 1/2 Weeks, Lady Oscar, Wild Orchid, Red Shoe Diaries, and Delta of Venus.  She also co-wrote the book for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Whistle Down the Wind. 

Knop was also an acclaimed artist, and her sculptures and paintings populate homes all over the world. A video of her art side is below.

She is survived by two daughters, screenwriter Chloe King and artist/ interior designer Gillian Lekfowitz. No memorial plans have been announced.

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