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Tom Mankiewicz

I am – Hercules Kneel! If you’ve listened to Richard Donner’s commentaries on the “Superman” Blu-rays and DVDs, you know that the guy who “really” wrote the shooting scripts for “Superman” and “Superman II” was famed script doctor Thomas Francis Mankiewicz, who succumbed to pancreatic cancer over the weekend. He was 68. Some WGA rule or another apparently kept Mankiewicz’ name out of the “Superman” screenwriting credits, so Donner credited him as “creative consultant” on the projects. Mankiewicz also wrote three of my favorite James Bond films, “Diamonds Are Forever” (not quite the last to star Sean Connery), “Live and Let Die” (the first to star Roger Moore) and “The Man With The Golden Gun” (the one with Hervé Villechaize as Nick Nack, plus Christopher Lee sporting the all-too-intimidating tri-nipple). If none of that warms you to this guy, he also directed and co-wrote with Dan Aykroyd and Alan Zweibel the Tom Hanks “Dragnet,” which I loved. AND he had a hand in the screenplay for Donner's 1985 supernatural romantic dramedy "Ladyhawke." I loved that one too. Post-Bond but pre-Superman he co-wrote the thrillers “The Eagle Has Landed” (Robert Duvall, Michael Caine, Donald Sutherland, Jean Marsh, Larry Hagman AND Jenny Agutter) and “The Cassandra Crossing” (Martin Sheen, O.J. Simpson, Richard Harris AND Burt Lancaster) and scripted the Bill Cosby-Harvey Keitel-Raquel Welch ambulance comedy "Mother, Jugs and Speed." (He was also the nephew of Herman Mankiewicz, who co-wrote -- or wrote, depending on who you talk to -- “Citizen Kane” for Orson Welles.) Find the BBC’s obit here.

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