Syd Field | Taught screenwriting, 77
Mr. Field's book Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting has been required reading in Hollywood since it was published in 1979. It has been translated into 23 languages and used in universities around the world. He wrote nine screenplays himself, though none made him a writing star.
John Singleton, the Oscar-nominated writer-director of Boyz N the Hood, told the Los Angeles Times he was only 15 when he devoured two of Mr. Field's books. When he got to the University of Southern California in the 1980s, he took a class from the master, whose genius, he said, was that he "just broke it down . . . about what worked and what didn't work in American films."
A Hollywood-born graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, Mr. Field wrote eight books on screenwriting and lectured across the world. Before his death, he was preparing to release video and audio recordings of his most recent lectures, given earlier this year.