Robert Bolt Over his lengthy, distinguished career, British screenwriter and playwright Robert Bolt has been thrice nominated for Academy Awards and has won twice for Doctor Zhivago (1965) and A Man for All Seasons(1966). Born and raised in Manchester, Bolt served in the British Air Force during WWII and afterward attended Manchester University. Following graduation, Bolt became a teacher of English at the prestigious Millfield private school in Somerset. He remained there between 1950-58. In his spare time, Bolt wrote radio and stage plays, but gained little recognition until he penned the script for his play Flowering Cherry (1957).
His third play, A Man for All Seasons opened in 1960; the original production made actor Paul Scofield a star and was a hit on the London and Broadway stage. The publicity surrounding the production attracted the attention of movie producer Sam Spiegel who hired Bolt to completely revise recently exiled writer Michael Wilson’s script for David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia. (1962). The result was an Academy Award nomination for Bolt’s script. Throughout the decade, Bolt would specialize in adapting literature to the screen.
He would not have an original script produced until Lean directed Bolt’s Ryan’s Daughter (1970). Unfortunately, the film bombed at the box-office. After that, Bolt spent a while working on his playwrighting career and found success with Vivat! Vivat Regina! (1970). His next script was for the costume drama Lady Caroline Lamb (1972) starring Bolt’s wife Sarah Miles, who had also starred in Ryan’s Daughter. In 1976, Lean approached Bolt with a new idea for an epic reworking of the story of the Bounty mutiny.
With funding by Dino De Laurentiis and Paramount studio, Bolt set to work on the script. Over the next two years, Bolt concentrated most of his energy on the script, creating two versions. Their working titles were The Law Breakers and The Long Arm. He had completed the former script but suffered a massive heart attack on April 12, 1979 followed by a stroke, and he was unable to finish the second script. In 1984, however, the first script was made into The Bounty directed Roger Donaldson.
Bolt saw his final script The Mission, produced in 1986. — Sandra Brennan, All Movie Guide Biographies.