Thomas S. Cook (1947 – 2013)
LOS ANGELES -- Academy and Emmy Award-nominated and Writers Guild Award-winning writer Thomas S. Cook died on January 5 at his home in Hollywood after a battle with cancer at age 65.
T. S. Cook is perhaps best known for co-writing the screenplay for 1979’s nuclear power suspense thriller The China Syndrome (Written by Mike Gray & T.S. Cook and James Bridges), for which he shared Academy Award, Golden Globe, and BAFTA screenplay nominations, as well as received a Writers Guild Award for Original Drama – Screen.
A Writers Guild, West member since 1975, prolific writer Cook penned numerous telefilms and television series over the past four decades. His TV movie writing or co-writing credits include Attack on Fear (1982, Based on the book The Light on Synanon by Dave Mitchell, Cathy Mitchell, and Richard Ofshe), Out of Darkness (1985), Nightbreaker (1989, Based in part on Atomic Soldiers by Howard Rosenberg), for which Cook received a Writers Guild Award for Original Long Form; High Desert Kill (1989, Teleplay by T.S. Cook, Story by Mike Marvin and Darnell Fry), In the Line of Duty: Street War (1992, Based on the New York Daily News magazine article “Living Large” by Mark Kriegel), The Switch (1992, Teleplay by T.S. Cook, Story by T.S. Cook & Ron Schultz), Texas Justice (1994, Based on the book Blood Will Tell by Gary Cartwright), The Tuskegee Airmen (1995, Teleplay by Trey Ellis and Ron Hutchinson and Paris Qualles, Story by T.S. Cook and Robert Williams), for which he shared an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries or Special; Forgotten Sins (1995, Based on
magazine articles by Lawrence Wright), a small-screen remake of Western classic High Noon (2000, Teleplay by Carl Foreman and T.S. Cook, Based on the screenplay High Noon by Carl Foreman and the magazine story “The Tin Star” by John W. Cunningham), the Lucille Ball biopic Lucy (2003, Written by Katie Ford and T.S. Cook), The Hive (2007), and NYC: Tornado Warning (2008). Cook’s TV series writing or co-writing credits include the hit series such as Airwolf, The Paper Chase, and Baretta, as well as the hard-hitting TV movie Scared Straight: Another Story (1980).
An active Guild member and tenacious advocate who worked on behalf of writers over the course of his career, Cook served on the WGAW’s Board of Directors (1995-97), and was a strike captain during the WGA’s 1988 and 2007-08 strikes. He also served on several WGAW committees, including Board Nominating (1991, 2008), Officers Nominating (1989, 2007), Election Review (2011-13), Committee on Professional Status of Writers [CPSW – Television, 1997-2002), Publications (1981-86), Television Writers Council (1999-2002), Strike Fund (1988), Strike Planning and Service (1989), Waiver (1995-2002), and Writers Image Campaign (1996-97).
Cook also served as a Pension & Health Trustee from 2006-13, first as an alternate trustee from 2006-11, then as a principal P&H trustee until his death. In addition, Cook served on the Writers Guild Foundation’s Board of Directors for several terms (1998-2007), as well as acted as Treasurer (2002-06) and chair of the WGF’s Oral History Committee.
In recent years, Cook turned his energies to play writing. He was a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre, a co-founder of Fierce Backbone Theatre Company, and a board member of the latter from 2007 until the onset of his illness. Among a number of productions, his play “Ravensridge” had its world premiere at the Fremont Centre Theatre in 2007.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, on August 25, 1947, Cook is survived by his wife, Monique de Varennes, his children, Kate and Chris; his mother, Betty; his brothers, Jim and Bill.
Given his devotion to the Guild, the family requests that, in lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Thomas Cook’s name to the Writers Guild Foundation: https://www.wgfoundation.org/donate-writing-foundation/
A memorial service will be held to honor the life and legacy of Thomas Cook on Saturday, February 9, 2013, at 2 p.m. at the Hollywood United Methodist Church, 6817 Franklin Avenue (corner of Franklin and Highland); more info at: http://www.hollywoodumc.org.