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‘China Syndrome’ writer T.S. Cook dies

Shared Oscar nomination for nuclear thriller

T.S. Cook, who co-penned nuclear nightmare thriller “The China Syndrome,” sharing an Oscar nomination for original screenplay and winning a WGA Award in 1980, died from cancer in Los Angeles on Saturday. He was 65.

Cook wrote “The China Syndrome” with Mike Gray and James Bridges, the latter of whom directed the film, which explored a doomsday scenario involving the meltdown of a nuclear reactor. Jane Fonda, Jack Lemmon and Michael Douglas starred.

Cook also penned a host of TV movies, including another nuclear-themed thriller, “Nightbreaker,” for which he won a WGA Award in 1990, and earned a story credit on HBO’s “The Tuskegee Airmen,” sharing an Emmy nomination in 1996. Other telepics included “Out of the Darkness,” “High Desert Kill,” “In the Line of Duty: Street War,” “Texas Justice,” “Forgotten Sins,” a “High Noon” remake in 2000 and “Lucy.” His last screen credits were the 2008 TV movies “The Hive” and “NYC: Tornado Terror,” both of which aired on Syfy.

Cook also wrote a number of episodes of the CBS series “Airwolf” in 1984-85 and served as supervising producer on 15 episodes of the skein.

Cook was alo an active member of the Writers Guild who served on the WGAW’s board of directors (1995-97) and was a strike captain during the WGA’s 1988 strike. He also served on several WGAW committees. Cook also served as a Pension & Health Trustee from 2006-13. In addition, Cook served on the Writers Guild Foundation’s board of directors for several terms (1998-2007), as well as acted as Treasurer (2002-06).

Thomas Steven Cook was born in Cleveland, earned a B.A. from Denison U. and an MFA from the U. of Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

He earned his first credits on episodes of “Baretta” and “The Paper Chase” in the 1970s. In recent years he had focused on writing for the stage.

Cook is survived by his wife, children’s author Marie Monique de Varennes; a daughter; and a son.

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