Aaron Latham, screenwriter, journalist and longtime husband of “60 Minutes” host Lesley Stahl, died this weekend after a long battle with Parkinson’s. He was 78.
Latham worked as a reporter at The Washington Post, The New York Times, and Esquire among other publications during his long career. In 1973, he was covering the Watergate scandals for New York Magazine when he first met Stahl, who was also covering the Nixon Administration for CBS. In a 1977 People Magazine article, Latham recalled how Stahl yelled at for calling her outside of office hours for questions about Watergate.
The two met and discussed political news whenever Latham was in Washington, but the two did not become romantically involved until after Nixon’s resignation. “Suddenly we started seeing something different from what we had been seeing,” Stahl told People. “Almost like the old story of the boss who marries his secretary after 35 years.” Latham and Stahl married in 1977.
In the decades after, Latham used his personal life and his stories as the basis for novels and screenplays. An Esquire article about a mechanical bull-rider who falls in love with a Texas nightclub bartender became the basis for the 1980 film “Urban Cowboy” starring John Travolta and Debra Winger. Travolta later starred in another Latham film, “Perfect,” as a Rolling Stone reporter tasked with writing a story about health clubs in Los Angeles but who becomes emotionally compromised as he falls in love with the main subject of the story.
Latham’s third film, “The Program,” was co-written with the film’s director David S. Ward and was released in 1993. It starred James Caan as the coach of a fictional college football team who will be fired if he doesn’t reach a bowl game, all while his players deal with substance abuse and receive improper benefits.
Latham was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2007. In 2018, Stahl spoke with the website Brain & Life about her efforts to help her husband deal with the escalating symptoms of the degenerative neurological disorder, including exercising at boxing gyms and continuing to write, albeit at a slower pace.
Latham is survived by Stahl, their daughter, Taylor and grandchildren Jordan and Chloe.