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Author Topic: R.I.P Peter Viertel  (Read 1287 times)
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« on: November 06, 2007, 02:42:50 AM »

Peter Viertel, the novelist, memoirist and screenwriter best known for his books chronicling episodes in the lives of Ernest Hemingway and John Huston, has died. He was 86.

Viertel died of lymphoma Sunday in the Spanish coastal resort of Marbella, according to Paula Kane, a family friend. His death came less than three weeks after his wife of 47 years, actress Deborah Kerr, died in Suffolk, England, also at 86.

A formidable figure and bon vivant in his own right, Viertel drew upon his relationships with Hemingway and Huston -- two larger-than-life friends -- in his most noted books, the novel "White Hunter, Black Heart" (1953) and the memoir "Dangerous Friends: At Large with Hemingway and Huston in the Fifties" (1992). He would later help adapt "White Hunter, Black Heart" for the 1990 film that Clint Eastwood starred in and directed.

Huston invited Viertel to accompany him to Africa in 1951 to help with dialogue in James Agee's unfinished script for "The African Queen," which gave Viertel a front-row seat to watch the distracted filmmaker hunt wild game while the crew endured wretched conditions, unbearable heat, aggressive insects and dysentery during delays in shooting.

Huston's goal was to bag an elephant -- and the film, which turned out to be a classic, took second billing to that endeavor. The relationship between Huston and Viertel suffered over their different views about the script and Viertel's decision not to hunt with the director.

La Times


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