Hollywood screenwriter of popular fare whose career -- or at least the production of his work -- seems to have run in spurts. Adept at both original work and adaptations, Robert Getchell saw the production of the very first screenplay he had written, "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore" released in 1974 and he earned an Academy Award nomination for his efforts. Heralded at the time as one of the first "women's pictures" since the advent of the feminist revolution, "Alice" starred Ellen Burstyn as a widow who leaves her home with her son to finally pursue her dream of becoming a singer, but, instead, finds some camaraderie working as a waitress in a diner. The film was turned into a long-running TV sitcom starring Linda Lavin in 1976 with Getchell as creator.
Getchell was nominated for an Academy Award for his second produced screenplay as well, "Bound for Glory" (1976), the biographical film on the life of folk singer Woody Guthrie. It was several years before he had another script produced, that being the unfortunate "Mommie Dearest" (1981), based on Christine Crawford's account of life as the adopted daughter of Joan Crawford. Except for "Sunset Dreams" (1985), Getchell had no screenplays produced in the 80s, but made up for lost time in the 90s. He adapted the Stella Dallas story of a single mother who sacrifices her love for her daughter in "Stella" for Bette Midler (1990), and turned the French "La Femme Nikita" into the American "Point of No Return" (1993). That same year, Getchell masterfully adapted Tobias' Wolf's autobiography "This Boy's Life" into a screenplay, which launched the career of Leonardo DiCaprio. In 1994, Getchell and Art Linson co-wrote the adaptation of "The Client," the story of a poor white boy who witnesses a suicide and knows the victim's secret.
Writer (Feature Film)
Special Thanks (Special)
Received Oscar nomination for first produced screenplay, "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore"
Created "Alice" series based on his screenplay; Wrote "Bound for Glory"
Adapted "Mommie Dearest" for the screen
Adapted "This Boy's Life" for the screen
Co-wrote screenplay for "The Client"