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April 05, 2013

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Prolific Writer for Film and Television

Although best known for her novels and a string of acclaimed feature films with Ismail Merchant and James Ivory, the Oscar winner also wrote TV movies.

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, a novelist who went on to become a prolific writer for film and television in collaboration with the Merchant-Ivory team, and won Oscar for her scripts for Howards End and A Room with a View, died April 3, 2012, in New York City. She was 85.

According to news reports, the cause was a pulmonary condition.

Born Ruth Prawer in Cologne, Germany, in 1927, she and her family fled the Nazis when she was 12 and settled in London. In 1951 she moved to India when she married Indian architect Cyrus Jhabvala.

She published her first novel, To Whom She Will, in 1955 and went on to write many others, including Heat and Dust, in 1975, which received Britain’s highest literary honor, the Booker Prize.

Her fiction brought her to the attention of producer Ismail Merchant and director James Ivory. Their first collaboration as a trio was an adaptation of her novel The Householder. She went on to to collaborate with the filmmakers on several other productions, including The Europeans, A Room with a View, Howards End, Mr. and Mrs. Bridge, The Bostonians, The Remains of the Day and Le Divorce.

On occasion, she also wrote for television, with credits that included an ABC Afterschool Special titled William: The Life, Works and Times of William Shakespeare, and the made-for-TV movies The Place of Peace and Hullabaloo Over Georgie and Bonnie's Pictures, as well as the documentary The Courtesans of Bombay.

More about her life and work is available at:

Hollywood Reporter

New York Times

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