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The Guardian (23/Dec/2002) - Dial M for Murder writer dies

(c) The Guardian (23/Dec/2002)

Dial M for Murder writer dies

Frederick Knott, the British playwright responsible for Dial M for Murder and Wait Until Dark, has died aged 86.

Only three of Knott's plays were performed, but he had huge success with each of them. The thrillers have been performed on stage all over the world, and two of them were turned into classic movies.

Yet his most famous script, Dial M for Murder, about a man who plots to kills his wealthy wife, was initially rejected. It became a hit after being bought by the BBC and screened as a television drama.

Knott adapted his play for the film, which was directed by Alfred Hitchcock and released in 1954. It starred Grace Kelly and Ray Milland.

Wait Until Dark was also a huge stage success before being filmed with Alan Arkin and Audrey Hepburn. Hepburn received an Oscar nomination for her role as a blind housewife terrorised by three vicious killers. Wait Until Dark was revived on Broadway in 1998, with Marisa Tomei and Quentin Tarantino in the main roles.

Knott, who died at his home in New York, also wrote the play Write Me a Murder.