Robert Getchell, 'Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore' Screenwriter, Dies at 81

Warner Bros./Photofest
Ellen Burstyn and Kris Kristofferson in 'Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore' (1974)

He earned an Oscar nomination for his work on the Ellen Burstyn film and another one for the Woody Guthrie biopic 'Bound for Glory.'

Robert Getchell, who received Oscar nominations for his screenplays for Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore and Bound for Glory, has died. He was 81.

Getchell died Oct. 21, according to a funeral home in Monterey, California. No other details of his death were available.

Getchell also co-wrote Mommie Dearest (1981), starring Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford, and John Badham’s Point of No Return (1993), and he did adapted screenplays for Stella (1990), starring Bette Midler; This Boy's Life (1993), starring Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio; and John Grisham's The Client (1994), directed by Joel Schumacher.

Getchell’s first screenplay was Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974), which starred Ellen Burstyn in an Oscar-winning performance as a widow with a young son who goes on the road as she tries to find her way in the world. Burstyn got ahold of the screenplay and got a young Martin Scorsese to direct what would be his first studio film. 

Getchell also created the long-running, Linda Lavin-starring CBS sitcom Alice, spawned from Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore. Another prominent character from the film, the waitress Flo (played by the Oscar-nominated Diane Ladd), then became the centerpiece of another TV comedy toplined by Polly Holliday.

Getchell adapted Woody Guthrie's 1943 autobiography Bound for Glory for the 1976 biopic that was directed by Hal Ashby and focused on four years in the life of the legendary folk singer, played in the film by David Carradine. He also penned the screenplay for another musical biopic, Sweet Dreams (1985), starring Jessica Lange as county superstar Patsy Cline.

A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Getchell graduated from the University of Missouri in 1965 and went on to teach literature at his alma mater.

 

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