Husband of ‘Urban Cowboy’ screenwriter Lesley Stahl was 78 – The Hollywood Reporter

Aaron Latham, journalist, screenwriter and husband of CBS News veteran Lesley Stahl who wrote the articles that formed the basis of John Travolta’s films Urban cowboy and Perfect, is dead. He was 78 years old.

Latham died Saturday at Bryn Mawr Hospital in Pennsylvania after battling Parkinson’s disease, a CBS spokesperson said. His health declined after being diagnosed with COVID-19 in 2020, his wife told The Hollywood Reporter.

A Texas native who married Stahl in 1977, Latham worked for The Washington Post, Squire, The New York Times and rolling stoneamong other publications, during his career.

Urban cowboy (1980) comes from Latham’s Squire play that revolved around a romance between a rider of mechanical bulls and a woman from the Houston-area nightclub Gilley’s. The actual couple became Travolta’s Bud and Debra Winger’s Sissy in box office success.

Latham’s stories for rolling stone on young people, singles and health clubs has been transformed into Perfect (1985), with Travolta as a reporter and Jamie Lee Curtis as a workout instructor.

For both films, he worked on the scripts with director James Bridges.

Latham also co-wrote with director David S. Ward The program (1993), the college football drama starring James Caan, and he co-wrote the book for the 2003 Broadway musical version Urban cowboy.

Aaron Latham was born on October 3, 1943 in Spur, Texas, near Lubbock. His father was a high school football coach and his mother was a high school teacher.

Every time his dad had a winning season, ‘we moved to a bigger place,’ he said Texas monthly in 2000. “I lived in Spur, Munday, De Leon, Abilene. I was a footballer until I got injured in my freshman year. During a workout, I found myself at the bottom of a pile and had to have my left kidney removed. Off the pitch, I have always liked English.

At Amherst, he edited the college journal before graduating in 1966, then earning his doctorate. at Princeton.

In August 1973, Latham was reporting on Watergate when he contacted Stahl, then investigated the CBS cover-up. “”How dare you call me home? “,” he recalled saying in a 1977 profile of the couple for People magazine. “‘If you want to talk, call me tomorrow at the office,’ she barked, then hung up the phone.”

They agreed to meet the next day, but in the meantime he decided to “turn on the television to see what this person looks like”. He did and said he was “terrified.” I thought, ‘She’s so beautiful.’ My heart stopped, my mouth went dry and I said, ‘What have I gotten myself into?’ »

Latham’s first novel, Orchids for Moma roman à clef about the CIA and his early relationship with Stahl, was published in 1977. They were married in February of the same year.

His other books included Crazy Sundays: F. Scott Fitzgerald in Hollywood; Frozen Leopard: Chasing My Dark Heart in Africa; The Ballad of Gussie & Clyde: A Real True Love Story; Western Code; and The Cowboy with the Tiffany Gun.

Stahl said that amid bidding for the film rights to Urban cowboyLatham had written in his contract that he was also handling the screenplay.

In a September 2018 interview with brain and lifeshe said Latham was diagnosed with Parkinson’s after puzzling symptoms like a slow gait led the couple to seek medical attention. (Stahl said THR he had the disease for about 15 years.)

Although he faced an uphill battle with degenerative disease, he continued to write and tackle new creative endeavors like directing plays.

He found relief and a new physical challenge through Rock Steady, a boxing program designed for people with Parkinson’s disease (Stahl did a segment on it for 60 minutes).

Although Latham also had success with a surgery called deep brain stimulation which helped reduce tremors and stiffness, his condition worsened after he was diagnosed with COVID-19.

“We have [COVID] together from the start,” said Stahl, 80, THR Last week. “It really disrupted the course of his illness. Parkinson’s disease is a progressively degenerate disease, and it was on a very slow, progressive, but not bad downward trend. But when he got COVID, he just fell off the side of the cliff.

Survivors include their daughter, Taylor; son-in-law Andrew; and grandchildren Jordan and Chloe.

The couple relished their roles as parents and grandparents, Stahl telling Signposts: “Aaron, who was raised as a Methodist, always says there is a plan for the universe, there is a higher order. The grandchildren come and they send you in a direction that you would never have You discover a new purpose, a new vocation.