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Oscar-nominated screenwriter, former Motion Picture Academy president Fay Kanin dies at 95

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By The Los Angeles Times
Thursday, March 28, 2013, 7:06 p.m.

LOS ANGELES — Fay Kanin, an Oscar-nominated screenwriter for the 1958 Clark Gable-Doris Day comedy “Teacher's Pet” and former president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, died on Wednesday. She was 95.

She passed away of natural causes in her home in Santa Monica, Calif., said caretaker Monique West.

In a writing career that spanned more than four decades, Kanin penned screenplays for movies such as the 1954 Elizabeth Taylor romantic drama “Rhapsody” and television specials such as “Tell Me Where It Hurts,” for which she won two Emmy Awards in 1974. She won another Emmy in 1979 for producing “Friendly Fire,” a critically acclaimed Carol Burnett TV movie based on the true story of an American soldier killed in the Vietnam War.

She was married to Oscar-winning screenwriter Michal Kanin.

Kanin served as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from 1979 to 1983 and was its second female president after actress Bette Davis. Kanin was a longtime chairwoman of the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress and served on the board of the American Film Institute.

Kanin often collaborated on scripts with her husband, who shared the Oscar for best original screenplay with Ring Lardner Jr. in 1942 for “Woman of the Year.” The Kanins shared the best original screenplay Oscar nomination for “Teacher's Pet,” which centers on an ornery newspaper editor played by Gable who falls for an idealistic journalism instructor played by Day.

The couple formed half of a formidable Hollywood family. Michael Kanin's younger brother Garson Kanin was a screenwriter and his wife, Ruth Gordon, won the Oscar for best supporting actress for her turn in “Rosemary's Baby.”

Fay Kanin's writing credits include the 1949 Broadway comedy “Goodbye, My Fancy,” the 1959 Broadway adaptation of “Rashomon” and other TV movies such as “Heartsounds” and “Hustling.”

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