George Jonas, Whose Book Inspired Steven Spielberg's 'Munich,' Dies at 80

A still from Steven Spielberg's 'Munich'

The journalist and TV producer wrote 'Vengeance,' about the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics and its aftermath.

Canadian TV producer and journalist George Jonas, whose book inspired Steven Spielberg's 2005 thriller Munich, died on Sunday. He was 80.

Jonas' death was announced by the National Post newspaper, which published his journalism in recent years, and followed a long bout with Parkinson's Disease.

His book Vengeance, about the 1972 Summer Olympics hostage crisis and its aftermath, stirred controversy for Spielberg and screenplay writers Tony Kushner and Eric Roth for its treatment of Israeli-Palestinian tensions.

Munich, which starred Daniel Craig, Geoffrey Rush and Eric Bana, followed five mercenaries hired by the Israeli government to avenge the massacre of their Olympic athletes. Born in Hungary in June 1935, Jonas emigrated to Canada in 1956.

While working for the CBC network, Jonas produced Scales of Justice, which dramatized real-life Canadian criminal trials. He also produced the 1986 mini-series Sword of Gideon.