Skip To Content
Fast Forward

Ronald Harwood, Oscar-winning screenwriter of ‘The Pianist,’ dies at 85

(JTA) — Screenwriter Ronald Harwood, who won an Academy Award in 2003 for “The Pianist,” has died.

Harwood died Tuesday of natural causes at his home in Sussex, England. He was 85.

He also was nominated for Oscars for his screenplays for “The Dresser” and “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.” The South Africa native received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth in 2010.

“The Pianist” was based on a Holocaust memoir by the Polish-Jewish pianist and composer Wladyslaw Szpilman, a survivor. The critically acclaimed film also won Oscars for Adrien Brody for best actor and Roman Polanski for best director.

Harwood, who was born Ronald Horwitz, moved from Cape Town to London in 1951 to pursue a stage career. He changed his surname after moving to Britain, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

He worked in the theater for several years before turning to writing. He is the author of a novel, as well as several plays including “The Dresser,” which was performed on Broadway and then adapted as a film. His play “Quartet” also was adapted for the screen.

His wife, Natasha, died in 2013. He is survived by three children.

The post Ronald Harwood, Oscar-winning screenwriter of ‘The Pianist,’ dies at 85 appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.