Jim Cash

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Jim Cash
James Willis Cash[1]

(1941-01-17)January 17, 1941
DiedMarch 25, 2000(2000-03-25) (aged 59)
East Lansing, Michigan, U.S.
Alma materMichigan State University
Known forCo-writer of Top Gun (1986)
SpouseCynthia Cash

James Willis Cash (January 17, 1941 – March 25, 2000) was an American film writer, noted for writing such 1980s films as Top Gun and The Secret of My Success.

Early life[edit]

Cash was born on January 17, 1941, in Boyne City, Michigan.[2]


In 1970, Cash received a B.A. in English from Michigan State University (MSU). In 1972, Cash received an M.A. in Television and Radio from Michigan State University.[3]


As a professor, Cash taught writing and film history at Michigan State University. Cash met a student named Jack Epps, Jr., who would later become his writing partner. Epps was from the Detroit area.

Cash and Epps began their writing relationship while at Michigan State University. In 1975, they wrote their first story together in the MSU Union Grill. Soon afterward Epps moved to Hollywood, California. Cash continued to live in East Lansing, Michigan, while Epps lived in Santa Monica, California. They collaborated via computer.

In 1986, Cash and Epps co-wrote Top Gun.

Personal life[edit]

Cash married his first wife, Mariann (Mimi), when he was a professor at MSU and she was a sophomore at MSU studying communications.

Cash and his second wife, Cynthia, had four children.[4] He and his wife had a restaurant in Lansing, Michigan.[4]

Cash also established several scholarships for film production and performing arts.[2][3]

He died after hospitalization for an intestinal ailment.[4]



  1. ^ U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936–2007
  2. ^ a b Oliver, Myrna (March 29, 2000). "Jim Cash; Professor, Half of 'Top Gun' Screenwriting Duo". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 14, 2022.
  3. ^ a b "Jim Cash & Jack Epps". Michigan Writers Collection. Michigan State University. Retrieved December 14, 2022.
  4. ^ a b c Oliver, Myrna (March 30, 2000). "Jim Cash, 59, Screenwriter". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 14, 2022.

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