Screenwriter Irving Ravetch dies at 89

Shared Oscar noms with wife for 'Hud,' 'Norma Rae'

Irving Ravetch, who with Harriet Frank Jr. formed one of the great husband-and-wife screenwriting teams in Hollywood history, died Sunday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after a lingering illness. He was 89.

Ravetch and Frank shared Academy Award nominations for their adapted screenplays for "Hud" (1963) and "Norma Rae" (1979), which contributed to Oscar wins for actresses Patricia Neal and Sally Field, respectively.

The couple teamed on 18 other films, many of which are regarded as some of the finest Hollywood films produced during the 1960s, '70s and '80s, including "The Sound and the Fury" (1959), "The Dark at the Top of the Stairs" (1960), "Home From the Hill" (1960), "The Long Hot Summer" (1965), "Hombre" (1967), "The Rievers" (1969), "The Cowboys" (1972), "Conrack" (1974) and "Murphy's Romance" (1985).

In 1988, Ravetch and Frank were awarded the WGA's Laurel Award for Screen Writing Achievement. In addition to co-writing "Hud," "Hombre" and "The Rievers," Ravetch served as a producer on those films.

"Hud" also won the best screenplay award from the New York Film Critics Circle while "Norma Rae" was a nominee for a Golden Globe Award.

Six of the their films were directed by Martin Ritt.

"I don't know of any better screenwriters than Irving Ravetch and Harriet Frank Jr. They are absolutely the best, on every level," Ritt wrote in an introduction to a book of the couple's screenplays. "I've enjoyed collaborating with them, and I know that we've done work as good as any that has been done in Hollywood. Our whole lives are intertwined in this work, from 'The Long, Hot Summer' back in the '50s on."

In addition to his wife, Ravetch is survived by his sister, Merona Frank of Hollywood, and brother Herbert Ravetch of Chatsworth, Calif. Services will be private.