Donald E. Stewart

Donald Stewart
Born Donald E. Stewart
(1930-01-24)January 24, 1930
Detroit, Michigan, United States
Died April 28, 1999(1999-04-28) (aged 69)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Cause of death Cancer
Nationality American
Occupation Screenwriter

Donald E. Stewart (24 January 1930  28 April 1999) was an American-born screenwriter, best known for his screenplay for Missing, which won the Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay, the Writers Guild of America Award, the London Film Critics' Circle award,[1] a Christopher Award, ( and the BAFTA Award for Best Screenplay, all shared with the film's director, Costa-Gavras. The screenplay for Missing is used in film schools for instruction in structure and development.[2] He also wrote or co-wrote the screenplays for the Tom Clancy-trilogy of Jack Ryan films The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger.[3]

In his Oscar acceptance speech for Missing, Stewart not only thanked the film's director ("my co-writer and friend") but he also thanked Charles Horman, the American journalist whose disappearance was the centerpiece of the film.[4] When interviewed about what impact the foreign policy issues raised by Missing had on audiences, Stewart commented: "Movies have a tendency to really heat up the emotions."[5]

Born in Detroit, Michigan, he had an early passion for cars.[2] He began his writing career as a journalist for The Detroit Times.[2] In his 20's, he founded and co-published Competition Press, a weekly magazine devoted to car-racing that eventually became Autoweek; he also briefly edited Motor Life magazine. In 1960 he left reporting and moved to New York for the advertising industry, becoming copywriter and creative executive for a series of agencies such as J. Walter Thompson, Young & Rubicam and BBD & O. Not surprisingly, he specialised in advertising copy for the motor trade, an area of booming competition in the car-obsessed economy of Sixties America. He became creative director of the Fletcher-Richards Agency and an expert on all things automobile. He moved to Hollywood in his 40's to try his hand at screenwriting; his first film was Roger Corman's Jackson County Jail and his last was Dead Silence, a TV-movie starring James Garner. He died in his home in Los Angeles of cancer in 1999, at the age of 69.[6]


  1. "London Critics Circle Film Awards". Retrieved 23 March 2013.
  2. 1 2 3 >Dannett, Adrian (27 July 1999). "Obituary: Donald Stewart". London: Retrieved 23 March 2013.
  3. "AllMovie". Retrieved 23 March 2013.
  4. "Oscar Acceptance Speech". Retrieved 23 March 2013.
  5. Robert Brent Toplin. History by Hollywood: The Use and Abuse of the American Past. University of Illinois Press.
  6. "Donald Stewart, 69; Writer of Screenplays". 9 May 1999. Retrieved 23 March 2013.

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