Writer/director Frank Pierson dies

Former Academy president was 87.

by Jennie Kermode

He was a former president of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, an Oscar winner himself, and a key talent behind films like Cool Hand Luke, Presumed Innocent and Dog Day Afternoon. Frank Pierson died yesterday at the age of 87, following a short illness.

The son of a writer, Pierson worked in advertising before moving to Hollywood to edit scripts. His cynical approach to the industry led to famous spats with stars like Barbra Streisand the Joan Crawford, but his endless enthusiasm and sheer staying power carried him to the top. Though he gave up directing in 2004 he continued to work as a writer and recently wrote several episodes of Mad Men. He was artistic director of the American Film Institute and also worked for the Sundance Institute.

Pierson is survived by his wife Helene and two children. A family funeral will be held for him later this week.

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