Lorenzo Semple, Jr.


Lorenzo Semple, Jr.

Lorenzo Semple Jr. (born 1923) is an American screenwriter and sometime playwright, best known for his work on the campy television series "Batman" and the political/paranoia movie thrillers "The Parallax View" (1974) and "Three Days of the Condor" (1975).

Career

Early work

Semple's writing career started in 1951, as a short story contributor to magazines such as "The Saturday Evening Post" and "Collier's Weekly". Semple also tried writing for the theatre and had two plays produced on Broadway, "Tonight in Samarkand" (1955), a melodrama adapted from the French, and the comedy "The Golden Fleecing" (1959). The latter was bought by MGM and produced under the title "The Honeymoon Machine," starring Steve McQueen, following which Semple relocated to Hollywood and established himself as a writer for several television shows, including "Kraft Suspense Theatre", "Burke's Law", and "The Rat Patrol".

"Batman"

While living in Spain in 1965, Semple was approached by producer William Dozier to develop a television series for ABC based on the comic book "Batman". Semple wrote a pilot which was promptly picked up, and the series based on it put on the air, with popular success. Semple wrote the first four episodes. Semple also served as Executive Story Editor, a capacity in which he put his writing imprint on all of the first season's scripts, and at the same time provided the screenplay for the 1966 "Batman" feature film version.

Later career

Following "Batman", Semple never wrote for television again and his screenwriting jobs took an often serious tone. His script for the critically acclaimed cult film "Pretty Poison" (1968) won the award of the New York Film Critics Circle Awards as best screenplay of its year, and he went on to co-write such dramas as "Papillon" (1973) (with Dalton Trumbo) and "The Drowning Pool" (1975), as well as "The Parallax View" and "Three Days of the Condor".

Following "Condor", he wrote several movies for producer Dino De Laurentiis, including the popular but critically assailed "King Kong"-remake (1976); "Hurricane" (1979), a major box office flop starring Mia Farrow, on which Semple is also credited as Executive Producer; and "Flash Gordon" (1980), again a comic book derivative, done in a deliberately over-the-top style reminiscent of the "Batman" sensibility, which once more disappointed at the box office but has since become another cult favourite.Fact|date=August 2007 As with his "Batman", serious comic-book devotees assailed Semple for the allegedly disrespectful approach he took to the printed originals.

After "Never Say Never Again" (1983), an "unofficial" James Bond series entry which brought Sean Connery briefly back in the role he made iconic, Semple dipped his pen for a final time into the comic book fountain for "Sheena" (1984), based on the comic book "Sheena, Queen of the Jungle".

Currently, Semple and retired agent and producer Marcia Nasatir review movies on YouTube as the Reel Geezers.

ources

*imdb name|id=0783913|name=Lorenzo Semple Jr.
* [http://www.ibdb.com/person.asp?ID=7369 Lorenzo Semple Jr.] at the Internet Broadway Data Base
*Vincent Canby, New York Times, 12/5/80
*"Starlog" (USA)October 1983, Vol. 6, Iss. 75, pg. 45-47,+54, by: Steve Swires, "Lorenzo Semple, Jr. : The Screenwriter Fans Love to Hate Part Two"


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