Harriet Frank Jr. Dies: ‘Norma Rae’, ‘Hud’ Screenwriter Was 96

Harriet Frank Jr (1977) Shutterstock

Harriet Frank Jr., whose many screenplays co-written with husband Irving Ravetch included the acclaimed Hud and Norma Rae, died Tuesday at her home in the Hollywood Hills. She was 96.

Her death was announced by nephew Michael Frank to The New York Times. The Writers Guild of America West later tweeted its condolences.

Frank and Ravetch (he died in 2010) were known for socially conscious films, exemplified by 1979’s pro-union drama Norma Rae starring Sally Field (in an Oscar winning performance), and for adaptations of literary works (including William Faulkner’s The Long, Hot Summer and The Sound and the Fury).

Twice Oscar-nominated for their screenplays (Norma Rae, 1963’s Hud starring Paul Newman), Frank and Ravetch had a long-running collaboration with director Martin Ritt, beginning with The Long, Hot Summer in 1958 and continuing with The Sound and The Fury (1959); Hud, Hombre (1967), Conrack (1974), Norma Rae, Murphy’s Romance (1985) and Stanley & Iris (1990). In all, Frank and Ravetch wrote 16 screenplays between their first and last Ritter films.

Sally Field, ‘Norma Rae’ Shutterstock

The screenwriting couple met when both were in training programs at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, according to The Times, and were married in 1946. After individually writing various genre pictures, the two teamed up to tackle higher profile films that explored social issues. Hud, for example, chronicled the conflict between an unscrupulous and greedy ranch hand (Newman, in the title role) and his ethical ranch-owning father (Melvyn Douglas).

In 1974’s Conrack, based on Pat Conroy’s novel, starred Jon Voight as a white teacher who attempts, against all odds, to provide an education for the impoverished black children of a South Carolina island community.

Frank also was the author of two novels, 1977’s Single and, two years later, Special Effects.

In addition to her nephew, she is survived by brother Marty Frank.

This article was printed from https://deadline.com/2020/01/harriet-frank-jr-dead-obituary-screenwriter-norma-rae-hud-1202845249/