Scribe Blake Snyder dies at 51

Best known for 'Save the Cat!' books on screenwriting

Screenwriter and author Blake Snyder died Tuesday morning from cardiac arrest. He was 51 years old.

Snyder co-wrote the screenplays for the Universal comedy "Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot" (1992) and the Disney family film "Blank Check" (1994). But he became most well-known as a screenwriting teacher whose bestselling books "Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need" (2005) and "Save the Cat! Goes to the Movies: The Screenwriter's Guide to Every Story Ever Told" (2007) encouraged a host of aspiring writers, producers and development executives to see the patterns in all successful movies.

"I often recommend Blake's books to aspiring screenwriters because they are by far the most useful and most readable books on screenwriting I've ever come across," said screenwriter Karen Lutz ("The Ugly Truth"). "He truly loved movies and was able to break down the structure of them in a way I'd never seen done before and in a way that completely made sense to beginner and pro alike."

Snyder's screenplay proselytizing led to his hosting seminars and workshops around the world -- New York, London, San Francisco, Vancouver, Barcelona, Beijing -- that showcased his folksy, enthusiastic boosterism for screenwriting and his love of film in general.

Repped by Andy Cohen of Grade A Entertainment, Snyder continued to write and sell specs throughout his 20-year career.

A third book, "Save the Cat! Strikes Back: More Trouble for Screenwriters to Get Into... And Out of," is set for publication in October.

"There was no one more gifted in the art of story structure than Blake Snyder," said longtime friend and screenwriter Tracey Jackson ("Confessions of a Shopaholic"). "He could tell you in two minutes why something didn't work and in another three how to fix it. And unlike many with a great gift, he was not miserly. He felt it was his calling to help others help themselves and took great pride when those he helped found success. He made all those he met feel special and encouraged them all in their dreams."

A Beverly Hills resident, Snyder graduated from Georgetown University and went on to teach at Chapman, UCLA, Vanderbilt and the Beijing Film Academy.

He is survived by his mother, Florence Snyder of Santa Barbara; his sister, Sally Maher of Santa Ynez; and a niece and nephew.

A memorial service is being planned.