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Archives | 1984


JULY 16, 1984

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This is a digitized version of an article from The Times’s print archive, before the start of online publication in 1996. To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them.

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July 16, 1984, Page 00011 The New York Times Archives

Ernest R. Tidyman, author and screenwriter whose screenplay for the movie ''The French Connection'' won him an Academy Award, died Saturday in Westminster Hospital in London of a perforated ulcer and complications. He was 56 years old and lived in New Preston, Conn.

Mr. Tidyman was in London for a production meeting about a film to be made in Europe. Sue Hyman, his agent, said he was admitted to the hospital Thursday and died in the intensive care unit.

In 1969, Mr. Tidyman became a screenwriter. Three years later, he won an Oscar for ''The French Connection,'' which was released in October 1971. He had already achieved major prominence as screenwriter of the first of the ''Shaft'' series, which came to the screen in July 1971. Gordon Parks directed ''Shaft'' and Richard Roundtree starred as the tough, black private detective, John Shaft. Mr. Tidyman had written seven novels on which the films ''Shaft,'' ''Shaft's Big Score'' and ''Shaft in Africa'' were based.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People gave him an award for the series. The series was also noteworthy because three writers - Stirling Silliphant, Roger Lewis and Mr. Tidyman - formed the company that produced the film for M-G-M. Wrote Crime Thrillers Following his 1971 triumphs, Mr. Tidyman wrote scripts for ''High Plains Drifter,'' starring Clint Eastwood, and, along with Abby Mann, ''Report to the Commissioner,'' which starred Michael Moriarty.


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The most recent of Mr. Tidyman's novels, most of which were crime thrillers, was ''Big Bucks.'' Others included: ''Absolute Zero,'' ''The Billion Dollar Snatch,'' ''Line of Duty'' and ''Table Stakes.''

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For television, Mr. Tidyman authored ''The Guyana Tragedy - The Story of Jim Jones,'' ''To Kill a Cop,'' ''Power'' and ''Alcatraz: The Whole Shocking Story,'' and the movie ''Dummy.''

Mr. Tidyman was born on Jan. 1, 1928, in Cleveland. After quitting school at 14, he began a 25-year career as a journalist, working first for The Cleveland News as a police reporter. He then worked for six other newspapers, including The New York Post, before coming, in 1960, to The New York Times. At The Times, he worked on various desks and was an assistant women's editor.

Mr. Tidyman is survived by his fourth wife, Chris Clark Tidyman, and four sons, Benjamin, Nathaniel, Adam and Nicholas.

A version of this obituary appears in print on July 16, 1984, on Page B00011 of the National edition with the headline: ERNEST R. TIDYMAN, SCREEN WRITER, DIES AT 56. Order Reprints| Today's Paper|Subscribe

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