Ronald Harwood, ‘The Pianist’ Screenwriter, Dies at 85

The Oscar-winning screenwriter died of natural causes, his agent says

Last Updated: September 8, 2020 @ 9:41 PM

Sir Ronald Harwood, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of the 2002 film “The Pianist,” has died. He was 85.

He died Tuesday of natural causes, his agent Judy Daish said in a statement to BBC. “His wife Natasha died in 2013 and Sir Ronald is survived by their children Antony, Deborah and Alexandra,” Daish said.

Harwood was born in South Africa and went on to become one of Britain’s greatest playwrights. He is perhaps best known for his play “The Dresser,” which follows the assistant of an aging actor and is based on Harwood’s own time as a dresser. The play debuted on West End in 1980 and then on Broadway in 1981.

“The Dresser” was then adapted into a 1983 film, for which Harwood wrote the screenplay. Star Tom Courtenay, who portrayed the dresser, won the Golden Globe for best actor in a drama. The story was also adapted for TV and radio.

Harwood wrote the screenplays for many other films, including 1994’s “The Browning Version,” 2005’s “Oliver Twist” and 2008’s “Australia.” He received a BAFTA Award for 2007’s “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.”