Michael Blake, ‘Dances With Wolves’ Screenwriter, Dies at 69

Michael Blake Dead
Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection

Michael Blake, who won an Oscar for penning the script of “Dances With Wolves,” has died, his manager and producing partner Daniel Ostroff has confirmed. He was 69.

According to Ostroff, Blake died peacefully in Tucson, Ariz., after battling a long illness.

Blake wrote the novel “Dances With Wolves” in 1988, before it was turned into an Oscar-winning feature. The book would go on to sell more than 3.5 million copies and be translated into 15 different languages.

The film came out in 1990, directed by and starring Kevin Costner, and was both a commercial and critical smash. Along with screenplay, it won six other Oscars, including best picture. The script also won the prize at the WGA Awards and the Golden Globes.

Costner later commissioned Blake to write two other screenplays — “The Mick” and “The One.” Before “Dances With Wolves,” the two worked together on “Stacy’s Knights” in 1983.

Blake most recently wrote a screenplay based on German novel “Winnetou” for Constantin Films in 2011.

Ostroff acquired film rights for the “Dances With Wolves” sequel “The Holy Road” last year. Matt Murphy is also developing “Dances With Wolves” for the stage.

Blake’s other novels include “Airman Mortensen,” “Indian Yell,” “Marching to Valhalla,” “Twelve The King,” and “Like A Running Dog.”

He is survived by his wife, Marianne, and their three children. His family requests that any donations made should be made to the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Broncos.

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  1. Jaci Estes says:

    “Sunkmanitu Tanka Ob Waci!”

  2. Benskelly says:

    Daniel is clearly a psycho. Please remove his post.

  3. Sad news, this is one of the best portrayals of the Native American and the take-over of their lands.

  4. Daniel says:

    A note to you rapists in Hollywoodland.

    Don´t squash the credibility of ´Dances with Wolves´.

    Or I may have to squash those repsonsible.

    I´m not kidding.

  5. Daniel says:

    Dances with Wolves´ remains one of the ironically underrated films of cinema history. Compared to others overrated like ´The Godfather´, it doesn´t surprise me that writer died in one of the true heartlands of North America. There are some men of whom you can simply see have a strong connect with the land and territories of their own country. Michael Blake is just that.

  6. sharon t says:

    I read the book and have watched the movie several times. The book (in my perception) was lyrical and moving, and touched me deeply. My condolences to his family.

  7. Bill B. says:

    I thought it was so overrated as a film and some scenes downright silly. I’ve never seen a minute of it since its initial release. Never had any interest. Much like Braveheart, another overrated pic, once was enough.

    • sharon t says:

      Bill…since you acknowledge that you have “never seen a minute of it since its initial release” how on earth could anything you say about the film have any worth at all??? Whether it’s overrated or not would, I believe, be in the minds and perception of those who have seen it.

    • ted says:

      Bill……………………..what have you done? And who cares?

      • Totally disagree. One of the best movies of all time. I still watch it once a year, because I just love this movie. The cinematography and music score is superb and if anything is underrated. most people will not agree with you I suspect. There is always at least one hater in the crowd I guess.

  8. TOM says:

    25 years later, I can’t recall a single line from DWW – yet, film lovers everywhere know Goodfellas script by heart…

    • KEN says:

      DANCES WITH WOLVES was – and remains – a powerful, moving and eye-filling American historical epic. Mr. Blake’s sprawling, compassionate and highly engrossing screenplay was a beaut’. My condolences to his colleagues and family.

      • I sure can…”The strangeness of this life cannot be measured: in trying to produce my own death, I was elevated to the status of a living hero”. John Dunbar

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