The writer passed away on 14 July (16) in his hometown of Pasadena, California surrounded by his friends and daughters Erin Condit-Bergren and Elysse Condit due to complications from liver cancer, which he had been diagnosed with in March (16), according to

Bergren is best known for co-writing The Elephant Man, a 1980 film starring John Hurt based on Bernard Pomerance’s 1977 play. It told the story of John Merrick, a severely disabled and disfigured man in Victorian London, and his surgeon who saves him from making a living as a sideshow freak. Based on the real tale of Joseph Merrick, Anthony Hopkins also starred.

Bergren was nominated for the Best Adapted Screenplay Academy Award with Christopher De Vore and director David Lynch but lost out to Alvin Sargent's Ordinary People. He was also nominated for a Golden Globe and BAFTA award. The Elephant Man received 8 Oscars nods in all, but went home empty handed.

The Elephant Man was Bergren's first screenplay, and he went on to write 1982 drama Frances, starring Jessica Lange, and co-write 1991's The Dark Wind with Neal Jimenez and 1998 TV movie Little Girl Fly Away.