Dennis Shryack, Screenwriter on Clint Eastwood's 'The Gauntlet' and 'Pale Rider,' Dies at 80

Dennis Shryack - S 2016
Jennifer Pera

The Minnesota native also penned the scripts for Tom Hanks' 'Turner & Hooch' and 'Code of Silence,' starring Chuck Norris.

Dennis Shryack, who wrote the screenplays for The Gauntlet and Pale Rider, two films with plenty of action directed by and starring Clint Eastwood, has died. He was 80.

Shryack, who helped attract $1 million for the script he worked on for the Tom Hanks crime comedy Turner & Hooch (1989) — at the time the most ever paid by Disney's Touchstone Pictures — died Wednesday of congestive heart failure in Duluth, Minn., his daughter Jennifer said.

Pale Rider (1985) was the highest-grossing Western at the box office to be released during the 1980s; it brought in $41 million (almost $92 million today).

In addition to The Gauntlet (1977), Shryack also wrote the Chuck Norris films Code of Silence (1985) and Hero and the Terror (1988); Flashpoint (1984), starring Kris Kristofferson and Treat Williams; Rent-a-Cop (1987), toplined by Burt Reynolds and Liza Minnelli; and Cadence (1990), directed by Martin Sheen and starring his son Charlie Sheen.

Shryack's first produced screenplay was for The Good Guys and the Bad Guys (1969), a comic Western starring Robert Mitchum and George Kennedy, and he followed that with a script for the thriller The Car (1977), with James Brolin.

Born in Duluth, Shryack started his entertainment career as a singer in The Escorts. The quartet served as the opening act for such stars as Sophie Tucker and Sammy Davis Jr.

Shryack landed a job in the mailroom at Universal Pictures and later became a literary agent. He wrote many of his scripts with Michael Butler (they teamed on seven films), Michael Blodgett (including Turner & Hooch) or Peter Bellwood (like 1991's Run, starring Patrick Dempsey).

In recent years, Shryack continued to write and spent long afternoons fishing on the shores of Lake Superior.

Survivors also include his wife Kathy, his son Chris and brothers Tom and Bill.  

He was represented by Nick Mechanic at The Mechanic Co.