Jonathan Reynolds dies: playwright, the screenwriter of “My mother-in-law is an alien” was 79 years old

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Jonathan Reynolds, playwright and screenwriter whose 1980s film credits series included comedies Micki & Maude, change the channel, my stepmother is an alien and the famous flop Leonard Part 6, died on October 27 of organ failure at the Actors Fund Home in Englewood, NJ. He was 79 years old.

His death was announced by the family at The New York Times.

A prolific Off Broadway playwright, Reynolds’ stage works included the famous Hollywood satire of 1982 Geniuses, produced by Playwrights Horizons and based on the diaries Reynolds wrote during his three months in the Philippines to observe the infamously difficult filming of Francis Ford Coppola’s film Apocalypse now.

A planned book on the making of the film was never printed, but his satirical piece was a hit with audiences and critics. And Reynolds would have an even more lasting bond with Apocalypse now: He contributed, uncredited, to one of the most memorable lines of dialogue of actor Robert Duvall. When Lt. Col. Bill Kilgore, a wave enthusiast, from Duvall, is told that he cannot surf near the battlefield, he exclaims, “What do you know about surfing, Captain, you are from the New Jersey ”.

Reynolds’ first credited film was Micki and Maude in 1984, a romantic comedy with a love triangle starring Dudley Moore, Ann Reinking and Amy Irving. Modest success, the film was followed in 1987 by what would become a legendary flop: Leonardo Part 6, a spy parody that even its star Bill Cosby has publicly despised.

Reynolds fares better with his next screenplay, 1988 Channel change, another love triangle comedy, this time inspired by His Girl Friday and with Kathleen Turner, Burt Reynolds and Christopher Reeve.

Reynolds returned to the rom-com genre, now with a sci-fi twist, with the 1988s My stepmom is an alien with Kim Basinger and Dan Aykroyd. The film, poorly received, will mark its final screenplay, although it received history credit for the years 1992 The Distinguished Gentleman with Eddie Murphy.

The writer would find a more welcoming and enduring place within the New York theater community, where his many theatrical productions over the decades included Stonewall Jackson’s house, a recommendation of the Pulitzer drama jury; Yanks 3 Detroit O Top of the 7th, Rubbers, Fighting International Fat, Tunnel Fever or The Sheep is Out, and Dinner with demons.

Although he continued to write plays into the 21st century – he received an award from the Dramatists Guild for his sustained achievement – Reynolds branched out in 2000 when he began writing a weekly food column. for the New York Times Sunday Magazine for six years. His memoirs Struggle With sauce: a life, with food was released in 2008.

A resident of New York and Garrison, NY, Reynolds is survived by his wife Heidi Ettinger, a Tony Award-winning Broadway stage designer; sons Edward and Frank Reynolds; sons-in-law North, Nash and Dodge Landesman; and two grandchildren.

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Jonathan Reynolds dies: playwright, the screenwriter of “My mother-in-law is an alien” was 79 years old