American stage and screenwriter TOM COLE has lost his battle with cancer at the age of 75.
Cole died on 23 February (09) at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut after suffering from multiple myeloma, a cancer of the blood, his wife, Joyce Chopra, has confirmed.
Best known for his film and stage writing, it was Cole's 1985 film Smooth Talk that helped launch Academy Award-nominated actress Laura Dern to fame after it became a surprise hit at the Sundance Film Festival.
The film was directed by Chopra, who also produced the television version of Cole's hit play Medal of Honor Rag. Cole's title character in the play was performed Off Broadway by Howard E. Rollins Jr. in 1976, and by rapper Heavy D in a Los Angeles-staged version produced by Will Smith in 2005.
Cole's other stage works include Fighting Bob and About Time, which became a signature performance piece for James Whitmore after he appeared in the original New York production in 1990.
The writer, who earned a masters degree in Russian at Harvard University, was inspired by his experiences in the Slavic nation as an interpreter for a government-sponsored science exhibition to compose his first book, An End to Chivalry. He later taught Russian and English literature at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
In addition to his wife, Cole is survived by a daughter, Sarah Rose Cole; a brother, Morrill; and a sister, Elizabeth.