RIP: “Stepford” novelist Ira Levin

Novelist and playwright Ira Levin, 78, passed away from a heart attack on Monday, November 12, in New York City. Levin’s books ROSEMARY’S BABY and THE STEPFORD WIVES were adapted into films noted for their subtle, creepy horror. (The 2004 remake of STEPFORD was an ill-conceived black comedy.) LOOK WHAT’S HAPPENED TO ROSEMARY’S BABY was a lackluster 1976 made-for-TV sequel that was followed by Levin’s own novel, SON OF ROSEMARY, in 1997. The Nazi thriller THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL, dealing with a cloned Adolph Hitler, was turned into a 1978 film starring Sir Lawrence Olivier and Gregory Peck; a remake is planned for a 2009 release. His 1991 thriller SLIVER was the basis for the 1993 film starring Sharon Stone. His first novel, 1953’s A KISS BEFORE DYING, was made into films in 1956 and 1991. Levin was also author of the play DEATHTRAP, Broadway’s longest-running thriller, filmed with Michael Caine and Christopher Reeve in 1982. Levin wrote the play NO TIME FOR SERGEANTS, a comedy based on Mac Hyam’s novel, about a hillbilly drafted into the air force. Andy Griffith reprised the role for the 1958 film version, making him a star; the film is considered the inspiration for the hit TV series GOMER PYLE, USMC.

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