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Michael Laughlin, who produced the cult-classic road trip movie Two-Lane Blacktop and co-wrote the Warren Beatty film Town & Country, has died. He was 82.
Laughlin died Wednesday in Honolulu from complications related to COVID-19, his close friend Brooke Nasser told The Hollywood Reporter.
During the 1970s, Laughlin produced eight independent films, including 1971’s Blacktop, starring Laurie Bird, Warren Oates, James Taylor and Dennis Wilson. The movie, which has a 93 percent “fresh” score from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, was placed in the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress in 2012. Criterion also released an edition in 2007 that featured commentary by Laughlin and director Monte Hellman.
With Buck Henry, he co-wrote the 2001 romantic comedy Town & Country, which also starred Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn and Garry Shandling.
Born in 1938, Laughlin was raised in Illinois by parents Donald and Hazel Laughlin. He was recruited to play basketball at Stanford University and went on to graduate from Principia College in Elsah, Illinois, in 1960.
He moved to London, where he produced 1967’s The Whisperers, starring Edith Evans and directed by Bryan Forbes, and 1968’s Joanna, starring Geneviève Waïte and directed by Michael Sarne.
While living in London, he met and married French ballerina and actress Leslie Caron. He and Caron separated in 1975 after living in Sardinia, Paris and Los Angeles.
From 1976-91, Laughlin lived with writer Susanna Moore in London, Los Angeles and Manhattan.
He also wrote and directed 1981’s Strange Behavior, starring Louise Fletcher and Michael Murphy; 1983’s Strange Invaders, starring Nancy Allen and Michael Lerner; and 1985’s Mesmerized, produced by Jodie Foster, who also starred alongside John Lithgow.
After separating from Moore, Laughlin relocated to Honolulu.
Crown published his book Radical Golf in 1996. He recently completed his memoir, which will be published posthumously.
He is survived by three stepchildren: Christopher Hall, Jennifer Caron Hall and Lulu Sylbert.
The Laughlin family also owns a farm in Illinois that continues to produce soybeans.
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