David Seidler, 'The King's Speech' screenwriter, dies at 86

Oscar-Winning ‘The King’s Speech’ Screenwriter David Seidler Passes Away at 86

David Seidler, known for his Oscar-winning script for the 2010 hit movie “The King’s Speech,” has passed away at the age of 86.

His manager, Jeff Aghassi, shared with The Times that Seidler’s life came to a peaceful end on Saturday while he was fly-fishing in New Zealand. Although the exact cause of his death wasn’t disclosed, Aghassi mentioned, “Being in New Zealand, a place David adored, and fly-fishing, an activity that brought him immense joy, he passed away as if it were a scene he had written himself.”

“The King’s Speech” achieved remarkable success at the Oscars in 2011, securing Seidler the award for the best original screenplay. The film also clinched the best picture award, while Tom Hooper and Colin Firth won awards for directing and lead actor, respectively.

The film tells the real-life story of King George VI of Britain, portrayed by Colin Firth, who overcame a significant stutter with the help of Lionel Logue, an Australian speech therapist played by Geoffrey Rush. This was crucial for the King’s first wartime radio broadcast.

Seidler explained in a 2010 interview with The Times the impact of radio on the monarchy. He pointed out that before radio, monarchs were distant figures, but radio brought their voices into people’s homes, allowing for a more personal connection.

Drawing from his own experiences of overcoming a stutter, Seidler crafted a deeply empathetic portrayal of King George VI. He shared in a 2011 interview with The Times that it took years and life’s hurdles to prepare him to write this story authentically, highlighting the importance of facing personal challenges to achieve greatness.

Born in Britain in 1937, Seidler moved to the U.S. during World War II. He attended Cornell University, where he befriended the writer Thomas Pynchon. Seidler’s early career involved writing translations for Japanese monster movies and contributing to the 1960s TV series “Adventures of the Seaspray.”

Before his success with “The King’s Speech,” Seidler’s career had its ups and downs. He worked on various projects, including the 1988 film “Tucker: The Man and His Dream,” directed by Francis Ford Coppola, a former classmate with whom he later had a falling out.

Seidler’s battle with cancer in the early 2000s motivated him to pursue his dream project, “The King’s Speech.” He once reflected on the importance of seizing the moment to fulfill one’s dreams.

In recent years, a stage adaptation of “The King’s Speech” found success in London’s West End and was set for a Broadway debut before the pandemic. Seidler was actively working on multiple projects, including documentaries, series, and films, at the time of his passing.

Seidler leaves behind two adult children, Maya and Marc, and a legacy of impactful storytelling that continues to inspire.