Share
News

Legend Behind 'Remember the Titans' and Other Movies Has Died

Share

Screenwriter Gregory Allen Howard, who skillfully adapted stories of historical black figures in “Remember the Titans” starring Denzel Washington, “Ali” with Will Smith, and “Harriet” with Cynthia Erivo, has died. He was 70.

Howard died Friday at his home in Miami after a brief illness, according to a statement from his publicist, Jeff Sanderson.

Howard was the first black screenwriter to write a drama that made $100 million at the box office when “Titans” crossed that milestone in 2000.

It was about a real-life black coach coming into a newly segregated Virginia school and helping lead the football team to victory. It had the iconic line: “I don’t care if you like each other or not. But you will respect each other.”

Howard said he shopped the story around Hollywood with no success. So he took a chance and wrote the screenplay himself.

Trending:
FBI Raids Home of Big City Democratic Mayor in Early Hours of the Morning

″They didn’t expect it to make much money, but it became a monster, making $100 million. “It made my career,” he told the Times-Herald of Vallejo, California, in 2009.

The film made The Associated Press’ list of the best 25 sports movies ever made.

Howard followed “Remember the Titans” with “Ali,” the 2001 Michael Mann-directed biopic of Muhammad Ali.

Smith famously bulked up to play Ali and was nominated for a best-actor Oscar.

Are you a fan of “Remember the Titans”?

Howard also produced and co-wrote 2019′s “Harriet,” about abolitionist Harriet Tubman.

Erivo led a cast that included Leslie Odom Jr., Clarke Peters and Joe Alwyn.

“I got into this business to write about the complexity of the black man. I wanted to write about Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Marcus Harvey. I think it takes a black man to write about black men,” he told the Times-Herald.

Born in Virginia, his family moved often due to his stepfather’s career in the Navy. After attending Princeton University and graduating with a degree in American history, Howard briefly worked at Merrill Lynch on Wall Street before moving to Los Angeles in his mid-20s to pursue a writing career.

He wrote for TV and penned the play “Tinseltown Trilogy,” which focused on three men in Los Angeles over Christmastime as their stories interconnect and inform each other.

Related:
Donald Sutherland, 'One of the Most Important Actors in the History of Film,' Dies at 88

Howard also wrote “The Harlem Renaissance,” a limited series for HBO, “Misty,” the story of prima ballerina Misty Copeland, and “This Little Light of Mine,” the Fannie Lou Hamer story.

Most recently, he wrote the civil rights project “Power to the People” for producer Ben Affleck and Paramount Pictures.

Howard is survived by a sister, Lynette Henley; a brother, Michael Henley; two nieces and a nephew.

The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →



We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

Tags:
, , , ,
Share
The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands. Photo credit: @AP on Twitter
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
Location
New York City




Conversation