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Oscar Millard; Novelist and Screenwriter

December 10, 1990|MYRNA OLIVER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Oscar Millard, a British novelist who became a successful Hollywood screenwriter, has died of natural causes. He was 82.

Millard died Friday at his home in Pacific Palisades after having his normal early-morning swim and eating breakfast, a spokesman for the family said.

Born in London, Millard was an established writer in England when he was hired by 20th Century Fox as a contract screenwriter more than 40 years ago.

He earned an Academy Award nomination for his original story for the 1951 film "The Frogman," starring Richard Widmark and Dana Andrews. He later wrote several of the films produced by Ingo and Otto Preminger.

Among Millard's screenplays were "Angel Face" in 1952 starring Jean Simmons and Robert Mitchum; "The Conquerer" in 1955 starring John Wayne and Susan Hayward; "Song Without End" in 1960 starring Dirk Bogarde and Capucine, and "The Saltzburg Connection in 1972 starring Barry Newman.

In recent years, Millard contributed articles about Hollywood to the Los Angeles Times and travel articles to the New York Times about Austria, where he traveled extensively and met his second wife, Brita.

Defending Hollywood in a 1985 essay published by the Los Angeles Times, Millard wrote characteristically: "The equating of swimming pools and sunshine with moral and artistic rot, and the notion that Hollywood writers work languidly beside their pools are, if you will pardon a Britishism, bloody rot.

"For more than 30 years," he continued, "I've had a pool in which I daily swim vigorous laps, but I have never written so much as a postcard beside it. Nor do I know of any (writers) guild member in good standing who ever wrote a line beside a pool. But the hoary myth persists, along with the legend of the deleterious effect Hollywood has on the writer's art."

In addition to his wife, Millard is survived by a niece, Anne Marie Krause.

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