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August 16, 1926|
New Bedford, Massachusetts, United States
|Died||August 23, 1999
Washington, D.C., United States
Norman Wexler (August 6, 1926 – August 23, 1999) was a screenwriter whose work included such films as Saturday Night Fever, Serpico and Joe, for which he received an Oscar nomination in 1971. A Detroit native and 1944 Central High School graduate, Wexler attended Harvard University before moving to New York in 1951.
He wrote Saturday Night Fever, which generated earnings in excess of $1.2B in today's dollars when both movie and record album sales are counted, more than double U.S. sales of top box office hit Titanic – which had a huge budget and costly special effects.
Wexler was a sometime playwright. His play The Rope was produced at Cafe La MaMa (NY) in 1965.
Health, personal life, and character inspirations
In the book Andy Kaufman Revealed, Bob Zmuda, Kaufman's friend and writer, relates his experiences working as an assistant for an extremely eccentric, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter, prone to pulling stunts that ranged from the bizarre to the profane. Zmuda refers to the man by the alias Mr X. Mr X's wild antics and boorish behavior are said to have been a major influence in creating Andy Kaufman's iconic alter-ego, the obnoxious lounge lizard Tony Clifton. Though Zmuda does not confirm Mr. X's identity in the book, he did confirm long-standing rumor that it was Wexler on the WTF with Marc Maron podcast.
His last manic episode November 1998 – February 1999 took a toll on his health. Early in the morning of August 23, 1999, Wexler died of a heart attack at age 73.
- Joe (1969)
- Serpico (with Waldo Salt) (1973)
- Mandingo (1975)
- Drum (1976)
- Saturday Night Fever (1977)
- Staying Alive (with Sylvester Stallone) (1983)
- Raw Deal (with Gary DeVore) (1986)