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David Stevens (22 December 1940 – 17 July 2018) was an New Zealand-Australian writer and director, best known for his work on The Sum of Us, A Town Like Alice, and Breaker Morant.[1][2]

David Stevens
Born(1940-12-22)22 December 1940
Townsville, Queensland, Australia
Died17 July 2018(2018-07-17) (aged 77)
Whangarei, New Zealand

Stevens was born in 1940, in Tiberias, Palestine where his father was an aircraft engineer working on flying boats.[3] In 1960, he left to emigrate to Australia, however his ship was diverted to New Zealand where he remained, until moving to Australia in the early 1970s.[4]

Stevens co-wrote Breaker Morant with Bruce Beresford and Jonathan Hardy, earning an Oscar nomination. He wrote the play The Sum of Us, which ran in New York for a year and won the Outer Critics Circle Award. He adapted it into a feature film, featuring Russell Crowe and Jack Thompson, which won an Australian Film Institute Award for Best Screenplay.[5]

The Sum of Us is the third play in Stevens' "A Currency Trilogy". The first play is The Inn at the Beginning of the World. The second is The Beast and the Beauty, which had its world premiere at the Old Mill Theatre, South Perth, on 22 June 2012.[6]

Stevens directed the Emmy Award-winning mini-series A Town Like Alice and wrote three novels – The Waters of Babylon, and two in collaboration with Alex Haley: Queen and Mama Flora's Family, which he then adapted into TV miniseries. These are Alex Haley's Queen (1993) for which he wrote the teleplay and Mama Flora's Family (1998).[7][8]

For his work with Haley, Stevens received an Image Award from the NAACP.[4]

He lived in Tutukaka Coast, Northland, New Zealand,[1] and was an active member of the aviation website[9]

Stevens died in Whangarei, New Zealand on 18 July 2018 at the age of 77.[4]

Selected creditsEdit


  1. ^ a b "A Night With Two Irreverent Beasts: David Stevens and Mark DeFriest". Old Mill Theatre. Retrieved 2012-07-05.
  2. ^ Debi Enker, "Voyages of Discovery", Cinema Papers, March–April 1984 p11-15, 106
  3. ^ "Vale David Stevens, esteemed writer/director". IF Magazine. 19 July 2018. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  4. ^ a b c "David Stevens, Oscar-Nominated Screenwriter on 'Breaker Morant,' Dies at 77". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2018-07-22.
  5. ^ "'In Conversation' with David Stevens". ScreenWest. 2011-07-19. Archived from the original on 2012-12-30. Retrieved 2012-07-05.
  6. ^ "World premiere: new play from The Sum of Us author – The Beast and The Beauty". Old Mill Theatre. Retrieved 2012-07-05.
  7. ^ IMDb
  8. ^ David Stratton, The Avocado Plantation: Boom and Bust in the Australian Film Industry, Pan MacMillan, 1990 p38
  9. ^

External linksEdit