Frank Galati dies at 79: Oscar-nominated screenwriter of The Accidental Tourist


Frank Galati dies at 79: Oscar-nominated screenwriter of Accidental Tourist and Tony Award winner for Broadway’s Grapes Of Wrath with Gary Sinise passes after a long career

  • Frank Galati died at the age of 79 on Monday it was announced on Tuesday
  • The Chicago native’s passing was announced by his husband Peter Amster 
  • But so far no cause of death has been shared for the theater director
  • He was Oscar nominated for his screenplay for 1988’s The Accidental Tourist
  • And he won a Tony Award for his version of The Grapes Of Wrath on Broadway 

Frank Galati died at the age of 79 on Monday.

His passing was announced by his husband Peter Amster but the cause of death was not shared, according to The Chicago Tribune. 

The Hollywood veteran had success in 1988 when he adapted the book The Accidental Tourist for the screen with William Hurt, Kathleen Turner and Geena Davis starring. The Chicago native was nominated for an Academy Award for his efforts.

But Galati was best known for his work on Broadway as he won a Tony Award in 1989 for his stage adaptation of Grapes Of Wrath starring actor Gary Sinise. 

A sad loss for the arts: Frank Galati died at the age of 79 on Monday. Seen in 2007

Frank’s theater ties were deep. 

He was an associate director at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre from 1986 to 2008 and a member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company since 1985. Galati had also worked as a professor at Northwestern University. 

His success came in the 1980s when he worked in theater. One of his first successes was a 1987 production of Aunt Dan and Lemon which starred Wallace Shawn. 

Next came his Oscar nominated work on The Accidental Tourist.

His movie hit: The Hollywood veteran had early success in 1988 when he adapted the book The Accidental Tourist for the screen with (pictured from left) Kathleen Turner, William Hurt and Geena Davis. The Chicago native was nominated for an Academy Award for his efforts

His movie hit: The Hollywood veteran had early success in 1988 when he adapted the book The Accidental Tourist for the screen with (pictured from left) Kathleen Turner, William Hurt and Geena Davis. The Chicago native was nominated for an Academy Award for his efforts

The plot: After the murder of their young son, the marriage between Macon (Hurt) and his wife Sarah (Turner) disintegrates, and she moves out. After a freak accident puts him on crutches, Macon goes to stay with his quirky siblings at the family home, where he meets the spirited Muriel (Geena Davis), a dog trainer with a young son of her own

The plot: After the murder of their young son, the marriage between Macon (Hurt) and his wife Sarah (Turner) disintegrates, and she moves out. After a freak accident puts him on crutches, Macon goes to stay with his quirky siblings at the family home, where he meets the spirited Muriel (Geena Davis), a dog trainer with a young son of her own

Then he went back to theater with an adaptation of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. 

The production began in 1988 at Steppenwolf with actors Gary Sinise and Terry Kinney then went on to Broadway.

His work won him a Tony Award in 1990.

He then had many hits with his Chicago productions which included included 1995’s As I Lay Dying.

A notable piece of work: Galati was best known for his work on Broadway as he won a Tony Award in 1989 for his stage adaptation of Grapes Of Wrath with Gary Sinise, pictured left

A notable piece of work: Galati was best known for his work on Broadway as he won a Tony Award in 1989 for his stage adaptation of Grapes Of Wrath with Gary Sinise, pictured left

Behind the scenes: Elaine Steinbeck, wife of author John, at party for opening night of stage adaption of novel The Grapes of Wrath with Sinise (second from left), set designer Kevin Rigdon (left) and director Frank, right

Behind the scenes: Elaine Steinbeck, wife of author John, at party for opening night of stage adaption of novel The Grapes of Wrath with Sinise (second from left), set designer Kevin Rigdon (left) and director Frank, right

In 1998 he was back to Broadway where he directed Ragtime, which was a production of Terrence McNally’s adaptation of E.L. Doctorow’s novel.

In 2005 he worked on the play After the Quake and in 2009 he took the part of Prospero in The Tempest. It stood out as Steppenwolf’s first Shakespeare production.

In 2012 he worked on The March then in 2015 he turned his talents to The Herd.

His final show was Knoxville at the Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota, Florida, where he had retired.

Galati was born in 1943 in Highland Park, Chicago.

He graduated from Glenbrook High School in Northbrook in 1961 and spent a year at Western Illinois before transferring to Northwestern. He joined the university’s faculty in 1972.

On stage: He he was seen right with Mary Zimmerman for the San Francisco production of Quake in 2007

On stage: He he was seen right with Mary Zimmerman for the San Francisco production of Quake in 2007

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