The Oscar-nominated writer, whose works also include “The Great Santini,” had been battling pancreatic cancer
Pat Conroy, the South Carolina-based novelist whose works included best-sellers “The Prince of Tides” and “The Great Santini,” died Friday at his home in Beaufort, S.C., according to the Beaufort Gazette. He was 70 and had been battling pancreatic cancer.
Conroy shared an Oscar nomination with Becky Johnston for the screenplay for director Barbra Streisand‘s 1991 screen adaptation of his 1986 best-seller “The Prince of Tides.”
The film, starring Nick Nolte as a troubled man who falls for his suicidal sister’s psychiatrist (Streisand), received seven total Academy Award nominations, including for Best Picture.
Conroy’s rich and often autobiographical novels were frequently adapted for the screen.
His 1976 novel “The Great Santini,” about an authoritarian and abusive military man modeled on Conroy’s own Marine pilot father, became a 1979 drama that earned Oscar nominations for Robert Duvall and Michael O’Keefe.
“The Lords of Discipline,” the story of intense racism at an all-male military college that closely resembled Conroy’s alma mater, Charleston’s The Citadel, became a successful 1983 movie starring David Keith.
Even his first book, a memoir called “The Water Is Wide” recounting his experience teaching underprivileged children in a rural one-room schoolhouse, was the basis for a 1974 movie called “Conrack” starring Jon Voight.
Conroy was born in Atlanta the oldest of seven children of a Marine pilot and a Southern belle and spent much of his childhood traveling to various military bases.
He is survived by his wife, the novelist Cassandra King.
On Saturday, Streisand issued a statement in response to Conroy’s death. “First, I fell in love with Pat Conroy’s book, ‘The Prince of Tides,’ and then I fell in love with him. He was generous and kind, humble and loving…such a joy to work with. I was so honored that he entrusted his beautiful book to me,” she wrote.
“Pat’s natural language was poetry…he wrote sentences that are like an incantation. He observed every nuance of human behavior and dug deep down to the truth…presenting it in all its glorious and stubborn complexity,” she continued. “I am so sad today. I lost a dear friend, and the world has lost a great writer.”