Eugene Vale dies at 81

Author of '13th Apostle', screenwriter, teacher

Eugene Vale, an author, screenwriter and teacher perhaps best known for his first novel, “The 13th Apostle,” which stayed on the New York Times bestseller list for more than 30 weeks, died May 2 of natural causes at his home in Los Angeles. He was 81.

Born and reared in Switzerland, Vale began his literary career as a freelance writer in Paris in 1934. Vale also wrote screenplays for French director Jean Renoir.

Before World War II, Vale emigrated to the U.S. and eventually penned several screenplays, including “The Bridge of San Luis Rey.”

During the early 1950s, Vale kept busy churning out scripts for the popular TV shows of the day, including “Four Star Playhouse,” “Fireside Theater,” “Hallmark Hall of Fame” and “Lux Video Theater.”

In 1964, he wrote “A Global Affair,” which starred Bob Hope. He also wrote the script to the Oscar-nominated documentary “The Dark Wave.”

His short stories and poems were published in numerous magazines, including Esquire. Other Vale novels included “Chaos Below Heaven,” “The Children’s Crusade,” “Passion Play” and “Some State of Affairs.”

Vale gave frequent lectures on screenwriting at various universities, and original manuscripts of his works — including “The 13th Apostle” — are housed in the American Literature Collection at USC. Other works are housed in the Literary Collection at Mugar Memorial Library at Boston U.

He also wrote the screenplay textbook “The Technique of Screenplay Writing” in 1944. It was revised and updated in 1972, and again in 1983 as “The Technique of Screen and Television Writing.”

Vale is survived by a son, two brothers, a sister and two grandchildren.

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