Bond screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz dies aged 68


American screenwriter and director Tom Mankiewicz, whose credits included several James Bond films, has died from cancer at the age of 68.

Mankiewicz wrote the scripts for Diamonds are Forever, Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun.

He also worked on the first two Superman films, and the TV series Hart to Hart.

Mankiewicz, who died at his home on Saturday, underwent surgery to treat pancreatic cancer three months ago.

He was a member of a famous Hollywood family - his father Joseph directed All About Eve and his uncle Herman co-wrote Citizen Kane.

Mankiewicz began his film career in the early 1960s when he was hired as an assistant director on John Wayne film The Comancheros.

His work on the screenplay of Diamonds Are Forever was the beginning of a long association with the Bond franchise. He made uncredited contributions to The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker.

'Gift of the gab'

image captionMankiewicz was screenwriter on the 1971 James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever

At the request of director Richard Donner, Mankiewicz fine-tuned the scripts for 1978's Superman and 1980's Superman II sequel - for which he was credited as creative consultant.

"Making Superman was only possible because when Tom came in, he brought his sense of humour and brought those characters to life," Donner said in a statement quoted by the Associated Press.

"A lot of people in this town have 'the gift of gab'. Tom's was unique; there was always a true emotional centre," he said.

During the 1970s, Mankiewicz wrote or co-wrote the screenplays for thrillers The Eagle Has Landed and The Cassandra Crossing.

He also wrote and directed on the TV series Hart to Hart, and directed the 1987 movie Dragnet - starring Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks.