Leonard Schrader, who earned an Academy Award nomination for his adaptation of “Kiss of the Spider Woman” and co-wrote the critically praised “Mishima,” has died. He was 62.
Schrader, who lived in Los Angeles, died Thursday of heart failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, his brother, “Taxi Driver” screenwriter Paul Schrader, said Saturday.
Schrader had a number of ailments, including cancer, his brother said.
He was born in Grand Rapids, Mich., to a family of Dutch Calvinists who forbade the brothers to see any movies.
“That was a church edict,” Paul Schrader said. “What they called worldly amusements were prohibited.”
Schrader didn’t see his first film until he was in college in the 1960s.
Schrader attended the local Calvin College and received a master’s degree at the Iowa Writer’s Workshop at the University of Iowa, where according to his Web site he studied with Kurt Vonnegut and Jorge Luis Borges.
In 1969 and the early 1970s, Schrader lived in Japan, where he taught American literature.
His first film was “The Yakuza,” co-written in the 1970s with his brother and starring Robert Mitchum. Sydney Pollack directed.
Other films included 1985’s “Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters,” based on the life of the Japanese novelist Yukio Mishima, whom Schrader had met before his ritual suicide in 1970. Schrader co-wrote the screenplay with his wife, Chieko, and his brother. Paul Schrader directed the movie, while George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola were executive producers.
Schrader’s adaptation of a book by Argentinian novelist Manuel Puig became “Kiss of the Spider Woman.” It earned him a 1985 Oscar nomination and won William Hurt the award for best actor.
Survivors include his wife and brother.