Frank Pierson (1925-2012) was a writer, director and producer best known for his screenplays for theatrical films such as Dog Day Afternoon (1975), Cool Hand Luke (1967), Presumed Innocent (1990) and A Star is Born (1976), and as the director of critically acclaimed movies for television such as Citizen Cohn (1992), Lakota Woman: Siege at Wounded Knee (1994), Conspiracy (2001), and Soldier's Girl (2003).
Pierson got his start in Hollywood during the Golden Age of Television in 1958 as a script editor and subsequent producer-director on Have Gun—Will Travel, then quickly moved on to write for various television series, including Naked City (1962-1963) and Route 66 (1963). Pierson went on to write screenplays for several notable films, including Cat Ballou (1965) and Cool Hand Luke, both garnering him Academy Award nominations. His original screenplay for Sidney Lumet's Dog Day Afternoon won an Oscar® in 1975. Pierson made his feature directorial debut with The Looking Glass War (1969) and later helmed the 1976 remake of A Star is Born, as well as King of the Gypsies (1978), both of which he scripted. More recently, Pierson was working as consulting producer and writer for the television series The Good Wife (2010) and Mad Men (2009-2012).
Frank Pierson served as President of the Writers Guild of America from 1981 to 1983 and 1993 to 1995, and President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from 2001-2005. Pierson, a recipient of several WGA honorary and lifetime achievement awards, won the WGA Award for Dog Day Afternoon and for his work on Mad Men in 2010. Pierson was a co-founder and teacher of the Sundance Screenwriters Lab, a professor at University of Southern California’s film school, and artistic director of the American Film Institute. Pierson has been nominated for three Academy Awards, winning in 1976 for the screenplay of Dog Day Afternoon, has been nominated for four Primetime Emmys (three for directing) and has been nominated for three DGA Awards winning the Movies for Television Award for Conspiracy in 2002.