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R.I.P. Michael Blake, writer of Dances With Wolves

Deadline reports that Academy Award-winning screenwriter Michael Blake died May 2nd in Tucson, Arizona after a long bout with illness. He was 69.

Blake is perhaps best known for his screenplay for Dances With Wolves, which garnered him an Oscar win in 1990; Blake adapted the screenplay from his 1988 novel of the same name. It was Kevin Costner—who had previously starred in the Blake-penned Stacey’s Knights—who convinced the screenwriter to pen Dances With Wolves and adapt the screenplay himself. Costner directed and starred in the film adaptation, which won not only the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, but also Best Director for Costner and Best Picture. Costner later commissioned Blake to write two other screenplays, The Mick and The One.


Michael Blake studied journalism at the University of New Mexico, as well as film in Berkley, California. In addition to writing, Blake engaged in several humanitarian causes on behalf of Native Americans and America’s wild horses. Deadline says that the family is asking for privacy at this time, but asks that any donations be made in his name to the International Society For The Protection Of Mustangs And Horses, for which Blake served as vice president. Blake is survived by his widow Marianne Mortensen Blake and his children, who are named after historic Native Americans: Quanah Valdemar Blake, Monahestah Dagmar Blake, and Lozen Ingrefred Blake.

Blake published a sequel to Dances With Wolves, The Holy Road, in 2001; the story is currently in development as a television miniseries. Producer Matt Murphy is also currently adapting Dances With Wolves for the stage.

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