May 24, 2022

Hollywood screenwriter Harold Livingston passes away at 97

Hollywood magic is made possible by the brilliant minds who write the stories. The world has recently lost one of those great minds.

Novelist and Hollywood screenwriter Harold Livingston passed away Thursday morning, Variety reported. The 97-year-old left behind a legacy that included many well-known works, including his 1979 screenplay for “Star Trek: The Motion Picture.”

The film was considered a capstone to the popular franchise at the time, earning $139 million though it only cost Paramount $44 million to make it. However, its popularity gave way to a sequel and several subsequent iterations of creator Gene Roddenberry’s science fiction brainchild.

Before ever making it to Hollywood, Livingston led an interesting and dynamic life. He served as a pilot during World War II as part of the transport squadron and then had a brief stint as a commercial airline pilot after the war.

Three years later, Livingston was invited to join the Israeli Air Force and was one of its founding members. The Jewish American pilot was instrumental in helping Israel win the Arab-Israeli War in 1948.

The life he lived as a pilot would have been remarkable enough, but Livingston’s many writing credits include some of the most popular and influential TV shows and movies of the last half-century.  These credits include “Mission: Impossible,” “Fantasy Island,” and “The Six Million Dollar Man,” just to name a few.

Livingston also wrote several novels, including “Ride a Tiger: A Novel,” “To Die in Babylon,” “Touch the Sky,” among others. His 1994 “No Trophy, No Sword” memoir highlighted his various military adventures, including his time in Israel’s Air Transport Command.

Though movies and television programs are panned as too common to be considered art, it’s difficult to overstate the influence these works have had on the American culture. A man like Livingston has made a significant contribution to the entertainment world by keeping the Star Trek franchise and science fiction genre alive — and that will now be his legacy.

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