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James Lee Barrett (November 19, 1929 – October 15, 1989) was an American producer, screenwriter, and writer.
Barrett, along with Peter Udell and Phillip Rose won the 1975 Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical for Shenandoah, which was based on his 1965 film by the same name, which starred James Stewart.
Other notable works written by Barrett include the 1965 epic film The Greatest Story Ever Told, Smokey and the Bandit, The Green Berets, and co-writing On the Beach. James Lee Barrett was also responsible for adapting the 1967 movie In the Heat of the Night for television. The series starred Carroll O'Connor and Howard Rollins. Barrett wrote the pilot episode and received the created by credit.
Barrett was born in 1929 in Charlotte, North Carolina and graduated in 1950 from Anderson University (South Carolina). Prior to his career as a screenwriter, he served in the United States Marines. His first screenplay was based on his teleplay The Murder of a Sand Flea the 1957 film, The D.I., which starred Jack Webb as a Marine Corps drill instructor at MCRD Parris Island. Barrett had been on Parris Island as a recruit in 1950.
In 1989, at age 59, Barrett died in Templeton, California of cancer.