Harriet Frank Jr., Oscar-Nominated ‘Hud’ and ‘Norma Rae’ Screenwriter, Dies at 96

Frank Jr. frequently collaborated with her husband Irving Ravetch

Last Updated: January 29, 2020 @ 8:23 AM

Harriet Frank Jr. a two-time Oscar-nominated screenwriter of films including “Hud” with Paul Newman and “Norma Rae” with Sally Field, has died. She was 96.

Michael Frank, Frank’s nephew, told The New York Times that she died in her home in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

Frank collaborated with her husband, Irving Ravetch, on “Hud,” as well as “The Cowboys” and “Conrack,” beginning in 1957 after she worked independently for the first 10 years of her career. They wrote 16 screenplays up until 1990.

Together they adapted the work of William Faulkner, William Inge, Larry McCurty, Elmore Leonard and many more auteur authors. The two also collaborated on eight occasions with director Martin Ritt. Ravetch died in 2010.

Frank was originally contracted by MGM under the studio’s writers training program and was known for her provocative work that grappled with post-war life in America as it related to moral dilemmas, social inequality and more.

Frank was also one of the subjects of her nephew and essayist Michael Frank’s 2017 memoir called “The Mighty Franks,” which showcased the family’s eccentric and theatrical upbringing.

In 1963, Frank won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Screenplay for “Hud,” as shared with Ravetch, as well as the Writers Guild Award that same year. Frank was then honored by the WGA with the Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement in 1988.