Harold Livingston, ‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture’ Screenwriter, Dies at 97

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Harold Livingston, an American novelist who wrote the screenplay for “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” in 1979, died early Thursday morning, Bobby Livingston confirmed to Variety. He was 97.

“Star Trek: The Motion Picture” was Livingston’s most famous writing credit, and he also wrote for several TV shows, including “Mission: Impossible,” “The Six Million Dollar Man” and more.

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“Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry and sci-fi author Alan Dean Foster, who penned several “Star Wars” and “Star Trek” novels, also contributed to the story and script development alongside Livingston. The 1979 film was the first movie in the “Star Trek” franchise, and it starred the original TV series cast members, including William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei, Majel Barrett, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Persis Khambatta and Stephen Collins.

The film was successful at the box office, earning $139 million worldwide from a $44 million budget, and Paramount ordered a follow-up, “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan,” which was well received by critics and fans. The “Star Trek” franchise has gone on to spawn several TV and film series, including an upcoming “Star Trek 4.” The original film also picked up Oscar nominations for art direction, visual effects and original score.

Livingston wrote for several TV series across the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, such as “Mission: Impossible,” “Blue Light,” “Run for Your Life,” “Iron Horse,” “The Hell With Heroes,” “The Name of the Game,” “The Magician,” “The Six Million Dollar Man,” “Barbary Coast,” “The Fantastic Journey,” “Fantasy Island,” “Future Cop” and more. He also published several novels, including “The Coasts of the Earth,” “The Detroiters,” “The Climacticon,” “Ride a Tiger: A Novel,” “Touch the Sky,” “To Die in Babylon” and “No Trophy, No Sword.”

Before becoming a writer, Livingston was one of the founding members of the Israeli Air Force and played a key part in ensuring Israel’s victory during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. He also worked as a radio operator for aircraft navigational purposes.

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