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Michael McDowell

Michael McDowell, a novelist who made a smooth transition to TV writing and directing, died Dec. 27 of AIDS complications at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He was 49.

A native of Alabama and Harvard graduate, McDowell earned a Ph.D. in English at Brandeis U. and in 1978 published his first novel, “The Amulet.” He enjoyed a successful career as a horror novelist and also published many books in other genres including “Cold Moon Over Babylon” and “The Elementals.”

McDowell segued into television where he wrote scripts and directed TV shows including “Monsters,” “Amazing Stories” and “Tales from the Darkside.”

He eventually relocated to Hollywood where wrote the screenplays to several features including “Beetlejuice,” “Tales From the Darkside.”

He returned to Boston in 1994 where he was diagnosed with AIDS. He continued to write commissioned film treatments and began a new career teaching screenwriting at Boston and Tufts Universities.

He is survived by lifetime companion, Laurence Senelick; a sister, Ann; and a brother, James.

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