Screenwriter and Novelist Ruth Prawer Jhabvala Dies at 85
Award-winning screenwriter and novelist Ruth Prawer Jhabvala passed away on Wednesday, April 3 in her home in Manhattan. Her daughter Firoza confirmed that her mother died because of long illness. Jhabvala is survived by her husband Cyrus, daughters Renana, Firoza and Ava, and six grandchildren.
Jhabvala was born as German Jew in 1927. Her family moved to U.K. when she was 12. She got married to an Indian architect and spent two decades in India, a country which inspired many of her creations. Her 1975 novel "Heat and Dust", about a woman who explored family scandal in India, won Man Booker Prize which is Britain's highest literary honor. She later moved to New York with money from "Heat and Dust".
She made her first collaboration with producer Ismail Merchant and director James Ivory in 1960s when the two filmmakers asked her to write a screenplay based on her novel "The Householder". She recalled her reaction at that time, "I told them I've never done anything like his before. But they said, 'It doesn't matter. We haven't either.' " Their 4-decade partnership yielded 2 Academy Awards for movies "A Room With a View" and "Howards End".
Jhabvala's last work includes a collection of short stories "A Lovesong for India" which was published in 2012. "The Judge's Will", her last story for The New Yorker, was featured on a March 25 issue. The last movie created by Jhabvala and Merchant Ivory was "Le Divorce" in 2003. Jhabvala and Ivory worked together on "The City of Your Final Destination" (2009) after Merchant passed away.
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