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Screenwriter Dan O’Bannon was inspired by everything from comicbooks to B movies when he co-wrote the script for the influential 1979 sci-fi pic “Alien.” O’Bannon, who also wrote “Total Recall,” died Dec. 17 in Santa Monica. He was 63.

His wife, Diane, said her husband died after a 30-year battle with Crohn’s disease.

O’Bannon’s characters were used in several “Alien” sequels, though he never worked on another of the films. Instead, he tried directing with “Return of the Living Dead” in 1985 and wrote other sci-fi and horror pics.

Born in St. Louis, O’Bannon went to USC film school with John Carpenter, where they collaborated as writers on the student film “Dark Star,” which was turned into a 1974 feature directed by Carpenter. After working for a few years in special effects, including doing computer animation for “Star Wars,” O’Bannon landed a gig in Paris supervising special effects for Alejandro Jodorowsky’s aborted production of “Dune.” When the project fell apart, he turned to screenwriting. He collaborated with Ronald Shusett on the original story for “Alien,” which combined inspiration from O’Bannon’s earlier scrip “They Bite,” the work of artist H.R. Giger, who was eventually brought in to work on the film, as well as classic sci fi pics like “It! The Terror from Beyond Space,” “The Planet of the Vampires,” “The Voyage of the Space Beagle.” Shusett and O’Bannon’s original pitch for the pic described it as “Jaws in Space.” “Alien” was nearly made by Roger Corman before landing at Fox with Ridley Scott directing as his second feature, which went on to gross more than $100 million worldwide.

With ‘Alien,’ I figured out quite simply that, as an audience member, what you don’t see scares you more than what you see,” O’Bannon once told an interviewer.

O’Bannon wrote two segments for the cult animation feature “Heavy Metal” in 1981 and co-wrote zombie pic “Dead & Buried” with Shusett. He then co-wrote John Badham’s “Blue Thunder,” though he was unhappy with the result after several rewrites.

With his “Blue Thunder” co-writer Don Jakoby, he scripted “Lifeforce,” directed by Tobe Hooper, and also worked with Hooper and Jakoby on campy remake “Invaders from Mars.”

O’Bannon made his directing debut on 1985’s “Return of the Living Dead,” which he also scripted. He reteamed with Shusett for 1990’s “Total Recall,” an adaptation of a Philip K. Dick short story starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, which went on to become a major B.O. hit.

He tried his hand at directing again with “The Resurrected,” a direct-to-video horror pic based on the writings of H.P. Lovecraft.

Sci-fi pic “Screamers,” released in 1995 but written years earlier, was also based on a Dick story. He worked again with Shusett on 1997’s “Bleeders.”

He is survived by his wife and a son.