Lewis John Carlino, an Oscar-nominated screenwriter, director, and playwright known for writing and directing “The Great Santini,” died on June 17 on Whidbey Island in Washington state, his family has announced. He was 88.
Carlino received an Oscar nomination with Gavin Lambert for best adapted screenplay for the 1978 drama “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden,” based on the novel by Joanne Greenberg. In 1979, he wrote and directed the screenplay for “The Great Santini,” from the novel by Pat Conroy. The film earned Academy Award nominations for Robert Duvall for his portrayal of a Marine pilot and for Michael O’Keefe as the son of Duvall’s character.
His screenwriting credits include John Frankenheimer’s “Seconds,” “The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea,” which he also directed and co-produced; “The Brotherhood,” starring Kirk Douglas; “The Mechanic,” starring Charles Bronson; and “Resurrection,” starring Ellen Burstyn. During production of “The Brotherhood,” he met Jilly Chadwick, whom he would marry in 1976.
In 1984, Carlino directed Jacqueline Bisset, Rob Lowe and Andy McCarthy in “Class,” and in 1985 his screenplay “Haunted Summer” was produced. His work in television included “Honor Thy Father,” from the novel by Gay Talese; “In Search Of America,” “Doc Elliot,” “Where Have All The People Gone” and “The Brick And The Rose.”
Carlino, the son of Sicilian immigrants, was born in Queens, N.Y. on Jan. 1, 1932. He served as a medic in the US Air Force during the Korean War.
He went on to study theater at El Camino Junior College, where he met his first wife, Natelle, with whom he had three children — Voné Natelle (1959-1988), Ida Alessandra (1964), and Lewis John II (1965-2018). He enrolled in the School of Communications at University of Southern California, taking his graduate degree in playwriting.
Carlino’s first plays were produced in the University’s Workshop Theater and later performed by the American National Theatre and Academy, with Carlino directing. He then returned to New York where he was admitted to the New Dramatists Committee and the Playwright’s Unit of the Actor’s Studio.
For a short while, he taught playwriting at Columbia University, before deciding to devote all his time to the theater, beginning with a series of three works: “Cages,” starring Shelley Winters and Jack Warden; “Telemachus Clay”; and “Doubletalk,” starring Franchot Tone and Ruth White. These plays earned Carlino the Vernon Rice Award for contributions to the Off-Broadway theatre and the New York Critics’ Drama Desk Award. in 1967, his play “The Exercise” was produced on Broadway and starred Anne Jackson and Stephen Joyce.
He moved to Whidbey Island with his wife in 1996, where he was instrumental in the forming of the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts.
He is survived by his daughter, Alessandra Carlino, grandson, Duncan Kyle O’Bryan, and great-granddaughter, June Alice O’Bryan.