Hollywood screenplay writer Robert Klane — best known for the 1989 dark comedy “Weekend at Bernie’s” — has died.
The writer passed away from kidney failure after a long illness on Tuesday, Aug. 29, at his home in Woodland Hills, family members confirmed Monday. He was 81.
Because of his work writing and executive producing “Weekend at Bernie’s,” a film in which two men put a pair of sunglasses on their dead boss to make it seem as though he’s still alive, jokes about Klane not really being dead or being seen having a great night out after his death were circulating on social media as a way to honor his memory.
Klane also wrote and directed the sequel, “Weekend at Bernie’s II,” and worked on a variety of other films, including “National Lampoon’s European Vacation,” “The Man With One Red Shoe,” “Thank God It’s Friday,” “Where’s Poppa?” and “Folks!” He is also credited as a writer for television, including several “M*A*S*H*” episodes.
In a statement shared with media outlets from actor and filmmaker Rob Reiner, Klane was called a “brilliant comedy mind,” and Reiner commended the writer’s lack of self-censorship.
“That’s what made him great and set him apart,” Reiner said. “He was fearless.”
A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Klane first rose to prominence with his 1968 debut novel, “The Horse is Dead.” His later works would be adapted into feature films, which is how he transitioned into being a screenplay writer and filmmaker.
Klane is survived by his wife J.C. Scott; his brother Larry; sons David and Jon; daughter Caitlin; and five grandchildren. His daughter Tracy, in 2011, preceded him in death.