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Screenwriter A.I. Bezzerides dies at 98

Jan. 9, 2007 at 2:28 PM

WOODLAND HILLS, Calif., Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Novelist and screenwriter A.I. Bezzerides, known for films like "Kiss Me Deadly" and "Thieves Highway," has died in California at the age of 98.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Bezzerides died last week at the Motion Picture and Television Hospital in Woodland Hills after a brief illness.

Bezzerides' rise to fame began in 1938 when his crime novel, "Long Haul," was turned into the 1940 film "They Drive by Night" with George Raft and Humphrey Bogart. After Warner Bros. paid Bezzerides $2,000 for the rights to the novel and put him under contract as a screenwriter did Bezzerides learn that a script based on his novel had already been published, the Times said.

Known to his friends as "Buzz," Bezzerides' first film credit was 1942's "Juke Girl," with Ann Sheridan and Ronald Reagan. Other films that followed include "Beneath the 12-Mile Reef," "Desert Fury," "Sirocco" and "Track of the Cat," all of which Bezzerides co-wrote.

The Times said that during the 1950s and 1960s, Bezzerides wrote for television, working on programs, including "Bonanza," Rawhide" and "77 Sunset Strip."

Born in Samsun, Turkey, in 1908, Bezzerides arrived in the United States with his parents as a child. He is survived by two daughters, a son, a granddaughter and four great-grandchildren.

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