Leonard Schrader, Oscar-nominated screenwriter of “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” died of heart failure Friday in Los Angeles. He was 62.
With his younger brother, director and writer Paul, he wrote “Mishima,” “Blue Collar,” “Yakuza” and “Old Boyfriends.”
He steeped himself in Japanese culture while teaching at Doshisha and Kyoto universities in Kyoto, Japan, and explored Japanese gangster culture in his first screenplay, “Yazuka,” co-written with his brother and directed by Sydney Pollack.
He went on to write Japanese-language scripts “Tora-San’s Dream of Spring,” “The Man Who Stole the Sun” and “Shonben Rider.”
In 1991 he wrote and directed “Naked Tango,” set and filmed in Buenos Aires. With his wife Chieko he was the author of documentary “The Killing of America.”
With “Kiss of the Spider Woman” producer David Weisman, he wrote the script for the upcoming Edie Sedgwick biopic “Edie: Girl on Fire,” which Weisman directed.
“Kiss of the Spider Woman” and “Mishima” premiered simultaneously at the 1985 Cannes Film Festival, where both films won prizes.
Schrader was born in Grand Rapids, Mich. He attended Calvin College and the U. of Iowa’s Writers Workshop.
For the past two years he chaired the screenwriting department and was filmmaker-in-residence at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. He had previously taught at USC and Chapman U.
He is survived by his wife Cheiko and brother Paul.