Ronald Bass

Ronald Bass

:"This article is about the screenwriter. For the professional wrestler see Ronald Herd.

Infobox Actor
name = Ronald Bass
birthdate = birth date and age|1942|3|26
birthplace = Los Angeles, California
academyawards = Best Original Screenplay
1988 " [{Rain Man] "

Ronald Jay Bass (born March 26, 1942), sometimes credited as Ron Bass, is an American screenwriter. Also a film producer, Bass's work is characterized as being highly in demand, and he is thought to be among the most highly paid writers in Hollywood. He is often called the "King of the Pitches". In 1988, he received the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for "Rain Man", and films that Bass is associated with are regularly nominated for multiple motion picture awards.


Bass was born in Los Angeles, California. One frequently reported "milestone" of his early life is the assertion that he "taught himself to read by age three".

From the age of 3 to 11, Bass was afflicted with an undiagnosed condition that kept him bedridden. His symptoms included respiratory problems and stomach pains with high fevers and nausea. It was during this illness, at age six, that Bass is said to have started writing.

During his teens, Bass began work on a novel, which he entitled "Voleur". He completed this work at age 17 and showed it to his English teacher. He took her critique of his first completed project quite hard. She described the writing as very good, but she felt that it was too personal to be published. Bass's response was to later burn his manuscript. Later in life, Bass recalled "it was like the voice of God telling me I didn't have what it takes to be a writer, and I should find something practical to do with my life". Bass would revisit his teenage writings later in life.

Bass entered law studies, first at Stanford, then Yale, and finally at Harvard Law School, where he graduated in 1967 with a degree in law. He seemed quite confident about his future prospects, saying, "When I learned there was such a thing as entertainment law, I thought, 'This is where I belong'". Back in Los Angeles, Bass began a seventeen year career practicing law in the entertainment business. He was successful, and eventually rose to the level of partner in his law firm.

Bass has worked with his sister Diane Bass, who served as an uncredited technical consultant on the film "Rain Man".

As he moved up the career ladder in law, the love of writing that Bass had acquired as a child never left him. He started writing again, usually during the predawn hours before going to work. Writing and working at unusual hours became a lifelong habit of his. In 1974, he began to rework his novel "Voleur", apparently from memory, as he had--in a fit of pique--burned the manuscript when he was 17. In 1978, he completed the work, renaming it "The Perfect Thief" (ISBN 0-515-04622-1). This was the first of his three published novels. In 1982, Bass published his second novel, ' (ISBN 0-688-01025-3). The "Lime" referred to in the title is Harry Lime, the central mystery character of the 1949 motion picture "The Third Man". On January 1, 1984, his third novel was published, "The Emerald Illusion" (ISBN 0-688-02622-2). The following year, he wrote the screenplay ', based on this novel. It was his debut as a screenwriter with a produced script.

As a screenwriter, Bass is known for successfully working in collaboration with other writers, including Amy Tan on "The Joy Luck Club" and Al Franken on "When a Man Loves a Woman".

Detractors of Bass's works describe his stories as overly sentimental. A director working on a Bass-written movie said, "Every character is a little too nice, and everything has to be tied up in a sweet little bundle".

“The Ronettes”

A small controversy has arisen over Bass' use of assistants to help him write screenplays. While it is common for screenwriters to employ assistants to help them with research and typing, Bass employs six or seven mostly female assistants that one journalist dubbed “The Ronettes”. According to Bass, his assistants help him in research and also in critiquing his scripts. They enable him to write, revise or polish a comparatively large number of screenplays per year [] .



* "The Perfect Thief", 1978, ISBN 0-515-04622-1
* "Lime's crisis: A novel", 1982, ISBN 0-688-01025-3
* "The Emerald Illusion", January 1, 1984, ISBN 0-688-02622-2


Please see the WGA screenwriting credit system for an explanation of the terms "story by", "screenplay by", and "written by". Also note that under the rules of the Writers Guild of America, Bass has not received onscreen credit for every script he has contributed to. It is thought that Bass has helped to write or consulted on over 100 screenplays (not all of which have necessarily been produced).

External links

* [ Bass's entry at the Internet Movie Database]
* [ Bass's entry at the Screenwriter's Utopia]
* [ A Harvard Alumni article on Bass]
* [ Commentary on Bass from]
* [, lists "milestones" in Bass's life]
* [ Bio page from the official website of How Stella Got Her Groove Back]
* [ A brief excerpt from Reuters/Variety occurs toward the end of this page from Talent]
* [ A article featuring a sidebar bio on Bass]
* [ A bio from]
* [ An interview with Sight & Sound]

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