Screenwriter and screenwriting teacher Charlie Purpura died March 20 of natural causes in Massapequa, N.Y. He was 59.
He was the writer of “Heaven Help Us,” a film about teens in a Catholic high school, which starred Andrew McCarthy and Mary Stuart Masterson. His television film, “The Day The Senior Class Got Married” won a DGA Award and the Humanitas Award. “The Girls of Summer,” in which Julia Roberts played a member of a rock band, began as a television film and received theatrical release as “Satisfaction.”
As a teacher of screenwriting at The Goldberg Department of Dramatic Writing in the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, Purpura was a mentor to undergraduate and grad students.
Born and raised in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn, Purpura was a rock and roll musician before becoming a film writer.
He is survived by his wife Jennie and a son.
Donations in support of student scholarships may be sent to N.Y.U. Tisch School of the Arts, c/o Mark Dickerman, Chair Goldberg Department of Dramatic Writing, 721 Broadway, Room 742 New York, N.Y. 10003