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Last Updated: Saturday, 29 May, 2004, 18:06 GMT 19:06 UK
TV writer Rosenthal dies aged 72
Jack Rosenthal and Maureen Lipman
Rosenthal was married to actress Maureen Lipman
Award-winning TV writer Jack Rosenthal, husband of actress Maureen Lipman, has died in hospital at the age of 72.

He died at 1120 BST on Saturday after a "Herculean" battle with cancer, his agent Jenne Casarotto said.

Rosenthal, who won three Baftas, wrote several early episodes of Coronation Street and the play that was turned into TV drama London's Burning.

A father of two, his family were at his bedside at the North London Hospice when he died, his agent said.

"Jack Rosenthal died peacefully at 11.20 this morning from complications due to multi-myeloma, a form of cancer, at the North London Hospice," said Ms Casarotto.

Coronation Street
Rosenthal wrote some early episodes of Coronation Street

"He was surrounded by his family and the wonderful nursing team after a Herculean struggle. He was writing to the end."

During the 1970s Rosenthal was widely acclaimed as one of the UK's finest small-screen dramatists in what was seen as a golden age of TV plays.

Three of his works - Bar Mitzvah Boy, The Evacuees and Spend, Spend, Spend - won back-to-back British Academy awards.

Alongside plays such as Another Sunday & Sweet FA, and The Evacuees, they epitomised a gritty new style of working-class drama.

His other credits include comedy series Bootsie and Snudge, and The Lovers, while he co-wrote the 1984 Hollywood film Yentl, starring Barbra Streisand.

His writing was funny and touched a chord with millions of people
Alan Yentob, BBC director of drama
London's Burning, which he created as a one-off play aired in 1986, became ITV's longest-running drama after Coronation Street and Emmerdale.

Born in Manchester, Rosenthal worked in advertising before joining Granada where he became a regular writer on Coronation Street in the early 1960s.

He married Lipman in 1974 after meeting her five years previously while working on the soap. The couple had a son, Adam, and a daughter, Amy.

Rosenthal was awarded a CBE in 1994.

'Talented writer'

An ITV1 spokesman described his death as "a sad loss".

"Jack was a talented writer who played an important role in the early history of Coronation Street," he said.

"Members of the cast and crew of Coronation Street send Maureen their best wishes at this time."

Alan Yentob, BBC director of drama, said: "Jack was one of the great original writers of British television - he is up there with Dennis Potter and Alan Bleasdale.

"So many plays come to mind that were quite exceptional. His writing was funny and touched a chord with millions of people."

Author Colin Shindler, one of Rosenthal's closest friends, described the playwright as his "mentor" and one of the best writers of his generation.

"Warm-hearted, tender - his writing style matched the man," Mr Shindler said. "He inspired extraordinary warmth, affection and loyalty."

The BBC's Nick Higham
"Jack Rosenthal was on of the last great television playwrights"

Obituary: Jack Rosenthal
29 May 04  |  Entertainment


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