In Memoriam

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James Gill Dennis ’63

James Gill Dennis ’63, May 13, 2015, in Portland, from a heart attack. Gill attended Reed for two years, and then served in the U.S. Army in Korea. He went on to earn an MFA from the American Film Institute (AFI) Conservatory. He became a highly respected screenwriter and teacher, who conducted workshops in Australia, Ireland, Portugal, and Scotland, and who also was active in the Portland writing community. His screenwriting credits include Riders of the Purple Sage, Return to Oz, and On My Own, and he co-wrote and directed Without Evidence. With his student James Mangold, he created the Oscar-winning film Walk the Line. Mangold remarked in an interview in 2005 that Gill’s teaching style surpassed traditional master-pupil roles. “He shared with students the struggles he was working through in his own work. We traded a lot of things back and forth and watched them get better. It was very exciting.” In his marriage to Elizabeth Hartman, Gill had two sons, who survive him, as do his widow, Kristen Peckinpah, and his two sisters.

Appeared in Reed magazine: September 2015

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