“Rebel Without a Cause” screenwriter Stewart Stern has died, the Writers Guild of America, West, announced Friday.

Stern, a two-time Academy Award nominee and Emmy-winning television writer, died Feb. 2 at the Swedish Hospital in Seattle after a battle with cancer, according to a release from the WGAW.

Stern wrote the screenplay for “Rebel,” the iconic 1955 teen drama starring James Dean and Natalie Wood, from an adaptation by Irving Shulman and a story by the film’s director, Nicholas Ray.

A family statement issued by the WGAW said that Stern was “surrounded by the next generation of filmmakers and screenwriters he had mentored and inspired, as well as friends and family who came from all parts of the country for a two-week vigil before his death.”

Stern earned Oscar nominations for “Teresa” (1952) and “Rachel, Rachel” (1969) and an Emmy for the hit 1976 mini-series “Sybil,” which starred Sally Field.

Other screenwriting credits include 1971’s counter-culture indie drama, “The Last Movie,” co-written and directed by Dennis Hopper; “The Ugly American” (1963), starring Marlon Brando; “Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams” (1973), “The Rack” (1956); and “The Outsider” (1961). He also wrote the Oscar-winning short film “Benjy” (1951).

WGAW Vice President Howard A. Rodman said Stern “lived so many lives. He was a great screenwriter, a tireless mentor, a WWII hero, an interlocutor with the primates at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle — and a man possessed of greater generosity of spirit than most anyone I’ve ever met.”

“He had such access to his feelings, and in his presence you had the same,” Rodman said. “In so many conversations I can recall having with him I ended up near tears — not in sorrow, but in recognition of the truths he so wisely and gently shared. This is the saddest thing. He was 92 but should have been with us forever.”

During the 1950s, Stern also wrote several productions for TV drama anthologies such as “Playhouse 90” and “Goodyear Playhouse.”

Stern’s experiences on the set during the rehearsal and filming of the 1973 TV adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ classic family drama “The Glass Menagerie” provided him with the material for his book, “No Tricks in My Pocket: Paul Newman Directs,” chronicling Newman’s direction of the stage play for television, Rodman said.

Born on March 22, 1922, Stern was raised in New York City, graduating from the University of Iowa, and subsequently serving in the U.S. Army during World War II in the 106th Infantry Division. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge, and received a Purple Heart, a Bronze Star, and Combat Infantry Badge, the WGAW said.

According to his family, Stern felt his writing “was always informed by that profound experience and the relations formed with his Army buddies.”

Stern was the nephew of Paramount Pictures founder Adolph Zukor, and his cousins were the Loews, who formerly controlled MGM.

In his later years, he was subject of the 2005 documentary, “Going Through Splat: The Life and Work of Stewart Stern,” and is the subject of a forthcoming documentary written and directed by Oscar-winning screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie, set for release later this year.

When he wasn’t writing, Stern volunteered at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo, where he raised two calves and took care of the gorillas, the WGAW said.

Stern is survived by his wife, Marilee Stiles Stern.

There are no plans for a memorial service.

City News Service

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