Stage Door News

Beverly Hills: Playwright Bernard Slade, born in Vineland, Ontario, dies at age 89

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Oscar-nominated screenwriter and playwright Bernard Slade died of complications from Lewy body dementia October 30 at his home in Beverly Hills, California. He was 89 years old. News of Slade's passing was announced by family representatives.

Born May 2, 1930, in Vineland, Ontario, Mr. Slade began his career performing in England before moving to Hollywood and becoming a TV writer. He wrote for such sitcoms as Bewitched and My Living Doll before going on to create a string of series, including Love on a Rooftop, The Flying Nun, and The Partridge Family.

In 1975, Mr. Slade made his Broadway debut with Same Time, Next Year, a long-running two-hander that tracks a couple's extramarital affair over several decades. Originally starring Ellen Burstyn and Charles Grodin, the work earned a 1975 Tony Award nomination for Best Play and saw Burstyn win Best Actress in a Play for her performance. Mr. Slade subsequently earned an Oscar nomination adapting his script for a 1978 film adaptation starring Burstyn and Alan Alda. 

Mr. Slade would return to Broadway three additional times, each a star vehicle. 1978's Tribute was led by Jack Lemon, 1979's Romantic Comedy by Mia Farrow and Anthony Perkins, and 1982's Special Occasionsby Richard Mulligan and Suzanne Pleshette. Tribute and Romantic Comedy both received film adaptations with Mr. Slade penning the screenplay adaptation, the former in 1980 with Lemmon recreating his stage performance, and the latter in 1983 starring Dudley Moore and Mary Steenburgen.

Mr. Slade's autobiography, Shared Laughter, was published in 2000. His wife, actor Jill Foster, died in 2017.

By Logan Culwell-Block for www.playbill.com

Photo: Bernard Slade. © 1975 Doug Griffin for the Toronto Star.