Michael Blake, Oscar-Winning Screenwriter of 'Dances With Wolves,' Dies at 69

Michael Blake - H 2015
AP Images

He adapted the script for the best picture-winning film from his novel, which has sold more than 3.5 million copies.

Michael Blake, who won an Academy Award for adapting the screenplay for Dances With Wolves from his own novel, has died. He was 69.

Blake died peacefully after a lengthy illness on Saturday in Tucson, Ariz., Blake's manager and producing partner Daniel Ostroff told The Hollywood Reporter.

In 1988, Blake wrote the novel Dances With Wolves, which has sold more than 3.5 million copies and has been translated into 15 languages. Producer Matt Murphy is currently developing it for the stage.

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The 1990 film version won seven Oscars, including best picture, and landed Blake the trophy for best adapted screenplay. He also nabbed the Golden Globe and WGA Award for the script.

Blake and Kevin Costner's professional relationship began with the gambling drama Stacy's Knights (1983), which Blake wrote and Costner starred in. Costner has also commissioned Blake to write two other screenplays.

Blake's most recent Hollywood assignment came in 2011, when Constantin Films hired him to write a screenplay based on the German novel Winnetou. In 2014, Ostroff aquired the film rights for Blake's Dances With Wolves sequel The Holy Road.

The University of New Mexico, which Blake briefly attended before launching his writing career, has acquired his archives.

He is survived by wife Marrianne and their three children. The family asks that any donations be made in his name to the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros. Contributions can be made here