L.M. Kit Carson, a Legend of Texas Film, Dies at 73

L.M. Kit Carson - H 2014

L.M. Kit Carson - H 2014

The actor, screenwriter and producer was instrumental in such films as 'Paris, Texas,' 'Breathless' and 'Bottle Rocket'

L.M. Kit Carson, a Lone Star State film legend who co-wrote Paris, Texas, Breathless and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, died Monday after a long illness, his son, Hunter, announced on Facebook. He was 73.

Carson, a grandson and namesake of the famous American frontiersman and the third husband of the late actress Karen Black, also worked as an actor, producer and director.

He played the title character in (and co-wrote) David Holzman's Diary (1968), a black-and-white parody of cinema verite that was one of the first mockumentaries, and appeared in Sidney Lumet's Running on Empty (1988) and Roman Coppola's CQ (2001).

A native of Irving, Texas, who attended the University of Dallas, Carson frequently collaborated with filmmaker Jim McBride. They teamed on Holzman's Diary and co-wrote the 1983 remake of Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless that starred Richard Gere (McBride also directed the movie).

Carson served as a mentor to writer-director Wes Anderson and the Wilson brothers (Owen, Luke and Andrew). He produced their 1994 short film Bottle Rocket, which eventually became the wildly popular 1996 indie feature.

"He gave us so much advice and so much input, I couldn't even begin to know where to start," Anderson said in an interview in November. "He was our guide."

Carson was married to Black from 1975 until their divorce in 1983.

In 1970, Carson co-founded the USA Film Festival with Southern Methodist University film professor Bill Jones, bringing independent movies to Dallas.

Carson did the screenplay for Wim WendersParis, Texas (1984), based on Sam Shepard's play.

"Your light was and always will brighten the pathways of our future," his son, Hunter, who acted in Paris, Texas, wrote on Facebook. "It will never be extinguished. You did everything the way you wanted and never let anyone else do less than they were capable of doing. You mentored, taught, learned, fought, excelled as both athlete and student. I loved and loved and will love every moment we spent together. Thanks for everything. See you in the movies."

Carson's survivors also include his wife, Bottle Rocket producer Cynthia Hargrave.

Twitter: @mikebarnes4