Laird Koenig, author and screenwriter of 'Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane', dies at 95

Laird Koenig, author and screenwriter of ‘Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane’, dies at 95

Laird Koenig, who adapted his novel for the screenplay of the 1976 cult film The little girl who lives down the alley, a controversial horror thriller starring a teenager Jodie Foster, has died. She was 95 years old.

Koenig died June 30 of natural causes in Santa Barbara, said Jamie Dixon, son of Koenig’s frequent writing partner Peter L. Dixon The Hollywood Reporter.

Koenig also received writing credits on three films directed by Terence Young: Red sun (1971), with Charles Bronson, Toshiro Mifune, Alain Delon and Ursula Andress; Bloodline (1979), with Audrey Hepburn, Ben Gazzara and James Mason; AND Inchon (1981), with Gazzara, Laurence Olivier and Jacqueline Bisset.

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His 1970 novel The children are watchingco-written with Dixon, it was made into the French film Warning The children are watching (1978), with Delon.

Based on his 1974 novel — his first as a solo author — The little girl who lives down the alley Foster starred as a 13-year-old girl living alone in a New England house trying to keep a family secret from a creepy boy (Martin Sheen) poking around. Foster had just been seen inside Taxi driver AND Bugsy Malone.

Directed by Nicolas Gessner, the film premiered at Cannes in 1976 but due to a rights dispute did not hit theaters until 1977. Due to Foster’s age, some objected to a nude scene between her character, Rynn Jacobs, and co-star Scott Jacoby, but it turned out that the actress’s older sister, Connie Foster, double-crossed for her.

Koenig, wrote Imran Khan on PopMatters. com in 2016, she had “a real knack for exploring the inner world of children with boldness and sensitivity. (He) managed to capture it with an accuracy that is rare nowadays. His children are often shrewd incarnations of adults you might know: level-headed thinkers who can keep their cool under pressure. Sometimes they are sociopaths. Many times they are relegated to the margins of society where they are left to fend for themselves among indiscreet, often dangerous adults.

Laird Philip Koenig was born in Seattle on September 24, 1927. He attended the University of Washington and worked in advertising in New York City before moving to Los Angeles in the 1960s.

Dixon asked Koenig to help him with episodes of Finand teamed up on seven episodes of the adventure series during the show’s three seasons (1964-67) and on a 1970 episode of another NBC show, The High Chaparral.

Koenig co-wrote the screenplay for The cat (1966), with Roger Perry and Peggy Ann Garner, then went to Broadway in 1969 with The dozens. The comedy, which starred Al Freeman Jr., Morgan Freeman (in one of her first major roles), and Paula Kelly, ran for just four performances.

His 1978 novel The neighbour became Kill them softly (1982), a drama starring George Segal and Irene Cara, for which he wrote the adapted screenplay Tennessee nights (1989), with Julian Sands.

Koenig’s other novels included 1980’s Islands81s Rockabies – adapted for a 1986 telefilm with Valerie Bertinelli – 1983’s The disciple and 2012 Morning Sun: The Story of Madam Butterfly’s Son.

Survivors include his granddaughter, Lisa, and nephew, Mark.