Penned 'Yum-Yum Tree,' 'Final Verdict'

Screenwriter-playwright Lawrence Roman, who wrote films including “Under theYum-Yum Tree” and “Final Verdict,” died May 18 from a stroke complicated by kidney failure in Woodland Hills, Calif. He was 86.

Born in Jersey City, N.J., Roman moved to the Los Angeles area in the early 1930s and graduated from UCLA. He served in the U.S. Army, and in 1946 married artist Evelyn Zirkin.

His career spanned seven decades, beginning in the 1940s as a contract writer for Universal Studios. In 1953, Roman wrote his first feature, “Vice Squad,” starring Edward G. Robinson and Paulette Goddard. Other films during the 1950s included “A Kiss Before Dying,”, starring Robert Wagner and Joanne Woodward and “Slaughter on Tenth Avenue,” starring Richard Egen and Walter Matthau.

He adapted his Broadway hit “Under the Yum Yum Tree” for the screen in 1963, starring Jack Lemmon. He followed up on Broadway with “PS I Love You,” starring Geraldine Page. In 1966, Roman wrote the screenplay for “The Swinger,” starring Ann Margret and two years later adapted George Plimpton’s book “Paper Lion” into a Golden Globe-nominated film starring Alan Alda and Lauren Hutton.

In the 1970s, Roman rewrote the screenplay for “Red Sun,” starring Charles Bronson and Ursula Andress, and wrote the original screenplay for “A Warm December,” starring Sidney Poitier, and he wrote and co-produced the John Wayne detective film “McQ” in 1974.

Roman continued writing in the 1980s with teleplays for “Anatomy of an Illness” and “Badge of the Assassin.” He returned to Broadway with “Alone Together.”

In the 1990s, Roman adapted Adela Rogers St. John’s novel “Final Verdict” for the screen starring Treat Williams, and wrote “The Ernest Green Story,” which received a Peabody Award.

In later years, his new plays “Alone Together Again,” “Grapes and Raisins” and “Make Me a Match” were produced, and he continued writing plays until his death.

Roman is survived by his wife Evelyn, a son, a daughter and a granddaughter.

Donations may be made to the Charcot-Marie-Tooth Assn. (

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