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Famous Like Me > Writer > B > Ronald Bass

Profile of Ronald Bass on Famous Like Me

Name: Ronald Bass  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 26th March 1942
Place of Birth: Los Angeles, California, USA
Profession: Writer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

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. 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 aquired 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 life long habit of his. In 1974, he began to rework his novel Voleur, apparently from memory, as he had burned the manuscript when he was 17. In 1978, he completed the work, renaming it The Perfect Thief (ISBN 0515046221). This was the first of his three published novels. In 1982, Bass published his second novel, Lime's crisis: A novel (ISBN 0688010253). 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 0688026222). The following year, he wrote the screenplay Code Name: Emerald, 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 Perfect Thief, 1978, ISBN 0515046221
  • Lime's crisis: A novel, 1982, ISBN 0688010253
  • The Emerald Illusion, January 1, 1984, ISBN 0688026222


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 nessesarily been produced).

Onscreen Film Credits
Film Year Writing Credit Producing Credit Alternate Name Credit Additional Information
Just Like Heaven 2005 screenplay by not yet produced
Mozart and the Whale 2005 written by producer as Ron Bass
The Lazarus Child 2004 screenplay by executive producer
Passion of Mind 2000 written by producer as Ron Bass
Snow Falling on Cedars 1999 screenplay by producer as Ron Bass
Entrapment 1999 story & screenplay by executive producer as Ron Bass
Swing Vote 1999 written by as Ron Bass made for television
Invisible Child 1999 story by as Ron Bass made for television
Border Line 1999 story & teleplay by as Ron Bass made for television
Stepmom 1998 screenplay by executive producer as Ron Bass
What Dreams May Come 1998 screenplay by executive producer as Ron Bass
How Stella Got Her Groove Back 1998 screenplay by executive producer as Ron Bass
My Best Friend's Wedding 1997 written by producer
Waiting to Exhale 1995 screenplay by executive producer
Dangerous Minds 1995 screenplay by
Reunion 1994 teleplay by made for television
When a Man Loves a Woman 1994 written by executive producer role as "AA man #1"
The Enemy Within 1994 teleplay by as Ron Bass made for television
The Joy Luck Club 1993 screenplay by producer
Sleeping with the Enemy 1991 screenplay by
Rain Man 1988 screenplay by Oscar for Best Original Screenplay
Gardens of Stone 1987 screenplay by
Black Widow 1987 written by
Code Name: Emerald 1985 screenplay by adopted from his novel The Emerald Illusion

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Ronald Bass