Monte Merrick, Screenwriter on 'Memphis Belle,' Dies at 65

Monte Merrick

His work included the sports-themed films 'Mr. Baseball,' '8 Seconds' and 'Skating to New York.'

Monte Merrick, who wrote the screenplay for the 1990 World War II drama Memphis Belle, directed by Michael Caton-Jones and starring Matthew Modine and Eric Stoltz, has died. He was 65.

Merrick died March 24 in Santa Monica following a battle with cancer, his friend John Henry Davis said.

Merrick also co-wrote Mr. Baseball (1992), directed by Fred Schepisi, about an aging player (Tom Selleck) who continues his career in Japan. And he penned the script for 8 Seconds (1994), a movie about bull riding that was directed by John Avildsen.

Merrick adapted Skating to New York (2013), about five teenagers who skate across Lake Ontario, and reworked Oliver Twist and The Miracle Worker for telefilms.

A native of Portland, Ore., Merrick graduated from Lewis & Clark College and earned a master’s degree in theater from the University of Colorado.

His plays, which include Open Heart and A Hell of a Town, were produced off-Broadway and in theaters across the country. He also wrote a novel, Shelter, about a teenager in Oregon that was published in 1993.

A life celebration will take place from 5 to 9 p.m. on Sunday, July 26, at 1909 North Topanga Canyon Blvd. in Topanga, Calif.