Lewis John Carlino, ‘The Great Santini’ Writer and Director, Dies at 88

The filmmaker earned an Oscar nomination for his 1977 adapted screenplay, “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden”

Lewis John Carlino
Whidbey Telecom

Lewis John Carlino, who wrote and directed the Robert Duvall-led 1979 drama “The Great Santini,” died last week at the age of 88.

Carlino died at his home in Washington state after suffering from myelodysplastic syndrome, which is considered a type of cancer that impacts blood cells in bone marrow.

His career spanned some 50-plus years, writing for both film and television. Carlino racked up some early TV writing credits in the early 1960s, including an episode of the adventure crime drama “Route 66,” which starred Martin Milner and George Maharis — and later Glenn Corbett — as two young men who drove across the country in a Corvette in search of adventure.

Carlino wrote his first film in 1966, “Seconds,” which starred Rock Hudson and Frank Campanella. The sci-fi thriller follows an unhappy middle-aged banker who agrees to a procedure that will fake his death and give him a completely new look and identity — but that comes at a price.

The filmmaker was credited with writing 14 films over the course of his career, including “The Mechanic” in 1972. The film, about an aging hitman who befriends a young man who wants to be a professional killer, was remade in 2011 and starred Jason Statham. Carlino wrote the screenplay for the 2011 remake, and was credited on the 2016 sequel “Mechanic: Resurrection.”

In 1977, after getting his directorial debut with the Kris Kristofferson-led “The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea” a year earlier, Carlino garnered his first and only Oscar nomination for best adapted screenplay for “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden.”

The film, which follows a disturbed, institutionalized 16-year-old girl struggling between fantasy and reality, was based on the semi-autobiographical novel by Joanne Greenberg, which was written under the pen name of Hannah Green.