By Peter McLaren-Kennedy • 28 January 2023 • 15:48
Denzel Washington in Remember the Titans - Image Remember the Titans trailer
Gregory Allen Howard’s publicist told Variety on Friday, January 28 that he had died following a short illness.
Howard, the first African American to script a $100 million drama, wrote the screenplay after he discovered the story of the 1971 TC Williams High School football team, the Titans, on a trip home to Virginia.
Born in Norfolk, Va., Howard earned a bachelor’s degree in American history from Princeton University before starting his writing career at 48. His first commission was the Harriet Tubman biopic “Harriet” for Disney but that movie didn’t get produced until 2015.
Howard wrote a number of other screenplays including “Ali” featuring Will Smith, “The Harlem Renaissance,” “Misty” and “This Little Light.”
A two-time winner of the NAACP Image Award, he was also a recipient of the prestigious Christopher Award, the Howard University Paul Robeson Award for artistic excellence and the Heartland Film Festival Award for screenwriting excellence.
In addition to his screenwriting activities, Howard was also a long-term contributor to the Huffington Post, penning numerous widely read pieces including “The Whitewashing of James Brown,” “Affirmative Action for White Boys” and “The Biggest Loser.”
He was actively involved in education and started the Lowell Fisher Scholarship and the Dr Howard Lonsdale Scholarship. He also taught a master-level seminar titled “True Story to Screen” at Howard University, and always found time to mentor minority students looking to gain admission to elite colleges.
Howard is survived by his sister Lynette Henley, brother Michael Henley, nieces Robyn Bacon and Valencia Kamara, nephew Robert Henley, a grand-niece, two grand-nephews and cousins Pierre Gatling and Patricia Cole.
Perhaps not a household name but the death of the award-winning screenwriter of “Remember the Titans’ and ‘Ali” will be mourned by many.
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Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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