Screenwriter Stephen Katz, who co-wrote the upcoming Morgan Freeman-John Cusack film “The Contract,” and wrote for such TV shows as “The A-Team,” “L.A. Law” and “Magnum, P.I.,” died Oct. 18 in Plano, Texas of prostate cancer. He was 59.
His film, “The Contract,” which he co-wrote with John Darrouzet and is being directed by Bruce Beresford, is scheduled for release in 2006. Born in the Bronx, he graduated Long Island U. and taught sixth grade in Bedford-Stuyvesant before moving to Los Angeles in 1976 to attend the American Film Institute.
In his second year at AFI, he wrote a screenplay adapted from “Strange Fruit,” a 1944 novel by Lillian Smith about an inter-racial relationship set in the post-WWI South. The short was nominated for an Academy Award in 1978.
His first television assignment was for “Hart to Hart” in 1980, and he went on to write for several TV series, including “L.A. Law,” “Hunter,” “The A-Team,” “Knight Rider,” “Magnum, P.I.,” “The Bronx Zoo,” “Hardcastle & McCormick,” and “Friday the 13th: The Series.”
Katz moved to Plano, Texas, in 1993, and for the last several years has been writing and teaching communications at Plano East Senior High School.
Katz is survived by his wife, Barbara; two sons; and brother Larry Katz, an executive at Spyglass Pictures.