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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 August 2006, 08:16 GMT 09:16 UK
Writer of Psycho film script dies
Janet Leigh in a scene from Psycho
In 2001, Psycho was voted the most thrilling film ever made
Screenwriter Joseph Stefano, who wrote the script for film classic Psycho, has died at the age of 84.

Stefano began his career as a pianist, singer and dancer but only found real success with his writing - first songs and then screenplays.

He was best known for adapting Robert Bloch's novel Psycho - which director Alfred Hitchcock asked him to rework for the big screen.

The cause of Stefano's death has not been revealed.

Shower scene

Born in 1922 in Philadelphia, Stefano became a stage entertainer, wrote music and lyrics and toured with a modern dance troupe.

But it was not until the 1950s that he got his big break, when he was hired as a writer for TV show The Ted Mack Family Hour.

By 1958, he had scripted two films - comedy Anna di Brooklyn and drama The Black Orchid, which starred Sophia Loren and Anthony Quinn.

In 1960, he was taken on by studio 20th Century Fox and given Robert Bloch's pulp novel Psycho to adapt.

We backed the story up a bit and learned something about Marion so that when she was killed, it would have more impact
Joseph Stefano on writing Psycho's famous shower scene
And Stefano was responsible for making the film's famous shower scene so shocking.

"Bloch's novel started with Marion Crane arriving at the motel and immediately being killed - my feeling was that, since I did not know anything about this girl, I wasn't going to care about her when she was killed," he once told the LA Times.

"So we backed the story up a bit and learned something about her so that when she was killed, it would have more impact."

Three years after writing Psycho, Stefano returned to TV writing to create sci-fi show The Outer Limits with Leslie Stevens.

The series ran for two years between 1963 and 1965 and was famous for the line: "There is nothing wrong with your television. Do not attempt to adjust the picture."

During the 1970s and '80s, Stefano mainly wrote TV movies - including the fourth sequel to Psycho.


SEE ALSO
Psycho actress Janet Leigh dies
04 Oct 04 |  Entertainment
Psycho stabbing 'best film death'
20 May 04 |  Entertainment
Psycho 'most thrilling film ever'
13 Jun 01 |  Entertainment

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