Colin Higgins


Screenwriter

About

Birth Place
New Caledonia
Born
July 28, 1941
Died
August 05, 1988
Cause of Death
Complications From Aids

Biography

Best remembered for writing the Hal Ashby-directed black comedy, "Harold and Maude" (1971), Higgins' scripts have ridden the wave of cultural trends or made reference to past masters of the genre. He endured five lean years before scoring again with the original screenplay "Silver Streak" (1976) a comedy adventure directed by Arthur Hiller and starring Richard Pryor, Gene Wilder and Jill...

Biography

Best remembered for writing the Hal Ashby-directed black comedy, "Harold and Maude" (1971), Higgins' scripts have ridden the wave of cultural trends or made reference to past masters of the genre. He endured five lean years before scoring again with the original screenplay "Silver Streak" (1976) a comedy adventure directed by Arthur Hiller and starring Richard Pryor, Gene Wilder and Jill Clayburgh. For the chance to direct his next screenplay, "Foul Play" (1978), he sold it to Paramount for a cut rate. The detective comedy starring Chevy Chase and Goldie Hawn was a box office hit and consolidated Higgins' reputation. There was no denying that both scripts owed more than a little to Alfred Hitchcock. He went on to co-script and direct the Dolly Parton vehicles "9 to 5" (1980) and "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" (1982), both of whose story lines gave women the upper hand in the ongoing battle of the sexes.

Higgins made occasional acting appearances, as in John Landis' crime comedy "Into The Night" (1985) where he joined a slew of other directors in cameo vignettes, and John Boorman's meditation on war "Hope and Glory" (1987). He had roles in two landmark British TV productions, "The Naked Civil Servant: The Autobiography of Quentin Crisp" (1975) and "Brideshead Revisited" (1982).

He completed a number of scripting and directing projects for the small screen, among them, the script for "The Devil's Daughter" (1973), as well as adapting both "Foul Play (1981) and "9 to 5" (1982-83; syndication 1987) into half-hour series. He co-wrote and co-produced "Out on a Limb" (1987) featuring Shirley MacLaine as herself in the miniseries based on her autobiographical writings.

Life Events

1971

20-minute drama written for Masters thesis became basis for hit cult feature, ""Harold and Maude"

1972

TV-movie acting debut, "The Heist"

1973

TV-movie scriptwriting debut, "The Devil's Daughter"

1976

Sold feature length screenplay, "Silver Streak"

1978

Feature acting debut, "The Shout"

1978

Directorial debut (and screenplay), "Foul Play"

Photo Collections

The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas - Publicity Stills
Here are a few Publicity Stills from The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas (1982), starring Burt Reynolds and Dolly Parton. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.

Videos

Movie Clip

Nine To Five (1980) - Open, Title Song Dolly Parton’s smash hit composition and recording opens director and co-writer Colin Higgins comedy hit, starring Parton, Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dabney Coleman, with Jane and Lily briefly introduced, Tom Tarpey the office manager, in Nine To Five, from a story by Patricia Resnick.
Nine To Five (1980) - I Got A Little Carried Away Sex-driven boss Franklin Hart (Dabney Coleman) plots an encounter with his personal secretary Doralee (country music superstar Dolly Parton, who wrote and performed the hit title song, in her first movie role), early in director Colin Higgins’ Nine To Five. 1980, co-starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin.
Harold And Maude (1971) - In Sight Of My Adversaries Having just told his psychiatrist about his funeral-going habit, we join Harold (Bud Cort) getting some new wheels, and attending his first, where he sees Maude (Ruth Gordon) for the first time, and his mother expresses further disapproval, early in Hal Ashby’s Harold And Maude, 1971.
Harold And Maude (1971) - Like Some Licorice? Director Hal Ashby shooting on location this time in Palo Alto, Harold (Bud Cort) for the second time encounters Maude (Ruth Gordon) attending a funeral to which neither of them has any connection, Eric Christmas the baffled priest, in Harold And Maude, 1971.
Harold And Maude (1971) - Snowfall On 42nd Street For the first time Harold (Bud Cort) seeks out Maude (Ruth Gordon) who’s invited him to visit, and she’s posing for sculptor Glaucus (Cyril Cusack), then demonstrates her scent simulator, Hal Ashby directing from Colin Higgins’ original screenplay, in Harold And Maude, 1971.
Harold And Maude (1971) - A Definite Pattern Emerging After director Hal Ashby and writer Colin Higgins’ elaborate fake suicide staged by Harold (Bud Cort) for his mom (Vivian Pickles) in the opening, she explains for dinner guests, and he visits the shrink (G. Wood), in Harold And Maude, 1971, also starring Ruth Gordon.
Harold And Maude (1971) - This Is My Car Shooting this time at the Holy Cross cemetery in Colma, near San Francisco, Harold (Bud Cort) meets Maude (Ruth Gordon) for the third time, as spectators at a funeral, Eric Christmas the priest again, Cat Stevens with his composition “Tea For The Tillerman,” in Hal Ashby’s Harold And Maude, 1971.
Foul Play (1978) -- Open, Archbishop San Francisco appears, the Archbishop (Eugene Roche) gets killed, divorcee Marion (Goldie Hawn) makes eye contact with cop Tony (Chevy Chase) who bumbles, in the opening to Foul Play, 1978.
Foul Play (1978) - Like To Take A Shower? Still in the opening sequence, San Francisco hostess Sylvia (Janet Wood) encourages divorcee Gloria (Goldie Hawn) to mingle, as policeman Tony (Chevy Chase) eavesdrops, their first conversation, in writer-director Colin Higgins' Foul Play, 1978.
Foul Play (1978) - Beware Of The Dwarf Gloria (Goldie Hawn) decides to enter the revival house (with imaginary movies) alone, and barely catches on when her impromptu date Scotty (Bruce Solomon) reappears, uttering his famous clue, in writer-director Colin Higgins' Foul Play, 1978.
Foul Play (1978) - My Place Or Yours? Still not knowing why she's being pursued, San Francisco librarian Gloria (Goldie Hawn) ducks into a bar fleeing her albino assailant (William Frankfather) where she turns to baffled Stanley (Dudley Moore, in his Hollywood breakthrough role) for protection, in writer-director Colin Higgins' Foul Play, 1978.
Foul Play (1978) - Monica Drowned This Morning Suave and accident-prone San Francisco detective Tony (Chevy Chase) brings fragile witness Gloria (Goldie Hawn) to his Sausalito house-boat for protection and whatever, and deftly explains about "Monica," in writer-director Colin Higgins' Foul Play, 1978.

Trailer

Bibliography