David Giler, a writer, producer or both on some of the most high-profile films of the 1970s and ’80s, from the controversial Myra Breckinridge to the immensely popular Alien franchise, died of cancer Dec. 19 at his home in Bangkok. He was 77.
His death was announced by spokesman Jeff Sanderson.
“If you knew David, you knew he was special,” said director Walter Hill, his longtime writing and producing partner. “The magic of his personality is hard to describe: funny, angry, extremely knowledgeable, extremely well read; it was my privilege to write and produce with him, and more importantly, to have his close and deep friendship for nearly 50 years.”
Giler’s screenwriting credits include The Parallax View (1974), Fun With Dick And Jane (1977) and The Money Pit (1986). He has writing or story credits for both Aliens (1986) and Aliens 3 (1992), and was a producer of the original Alien (1979) and its seven sequels, up to 2017’s Alien: Covenant (though his and Hill’s involvement lessened in the later sequels).
His collaboration with Hill began with the formation of Brandywine Productions, kicking off with Alien (a dispute with writer Dan O’Bannon over screenwriting credits ended with O’Bannon getting sole screenwriting credit).
The following year, Giler and Hill wrote the acclaimed Southern Comfort, with Hill directing. Hill would also direct the writing duo’s Undisputed in 2002.
In television, Giler wrote scripts for ’60s series Burke’s Law, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. In 1970, at 25 years old, Giler took on Gore Vidal’s Myra Breckinridge, his battles with director Michael Sarne becoming nearly as infamous as the legendary Raquel Welch-Rex Reed flop itself. One significant outlier: Vidal himself, who praised Giler’s original draft and became a lifelong friend.
Giler wrote the early Tom Hanks hit The Money Pit, and worked, uncredited, on Beverly Hills Cop II (1987).
He returned to television in 1989 when he and Hill executive produced Tales from the Crypt and Tales from the Cryptkeeper, early hits for HBO.
Giler was briefly married to The World of Suzie Wong actress Nancy Kwan before divorcing in 1971. He is survived by sister Kendall Giler. Buddhist services will be held in Bangkok.