Warren Murphy, Screenwriter on Clint Eastwood's 'The Eiger Sanction,' Dies at 81
He also worked on 'Lethal Weapon 2,' and his 'Destroyer' novels spawned 'Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins.'
Warren Murphy, a celebrated author of crime and political novels who wrote for the action films The Eiger Sanction and Lethal Weapon 2, has died. He was 81.
Murphy died peacefully at his home in Virginia Beach, Va., on Friday, his son announced.
With the late Richard Sapir, Murphy wrote the first in the series of The Destroyer paperback novels, which revolve around a U.S. government operative named Remo Williams. The character, who is trained to be an assassin after his death is faked, was played by Fred Ward in the 1985 film Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins. (A few years later, a planned Remo Williams series at ABC never got past the pilot stage.)
His series of Trace novels, about an unlicensed insurance fraud investigator in Las Vegas, led to the short-lived 1988-89 ABC series Murphy’s Law, starring George Segal.
Eastwood called Murphy and asked him to adapt the 1972 novel The Eiger Sanction by Trevanian, the pen name of Rod Whitaker, for the 1975 thriller that starred the actor (he also directed) as a government assassin who comes out of retirement to avenge the murder of a pal. Murphy had never done a screenplay before.
Murphy later co-wrote with Shane Black the story for Lethal Weapon 2 (1989), the hugely successful sequel that starred Mel Gibson and Danny Glover as buddy cops.
A native of Jersey City, N.J., Murphy served in the Korean War and worked as a reporter, editor and as a personal secretary to the mayor of his hometown before writing his first novel.
Survivors include his children Deirdre, Megan, Brian, Ardath and Devin and grandchildren Adam, Samantha, Morgan, Adelaide, Thomas and Tyler.