Gregory Allen Howard, the award-winning screenwriter of “Remember the Titans,” died Friday in Miami, Fla. following a brief illness, his publicist confirmed to Variety. He was 70.
Howard was best known for penning the screenplay for the 2000 classic sports film “Remember the Titans,” starring Denzel Washington and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer.
Born in Norfolk, Va., Howard earned a bachelor’s degree in American history from Princeton University. Howard discovered the story of the 1971 TC Williams High School football team, the Titans, on a trip home to Virginia. Inspired by the story, Howard developed and wrote the screenplay, becoming the first African American screenwriter to script a $100 million drama, and the only African American screenwriter in film history to write a $100 million spec script.
Howard began his writing career at the age of 48, with his first project being the Harriet Tubman biopic “Harriet,” which was originally assigned to him at Disney. However, the film didn’t get off the ground until 2015, when Howard joined producers Debra Martin Chase and Daniela Taplin Lundberg, with Kasi Lemmons co-writing the screenplay. Starring Cynthia Erivo, Leslie Odom Jr., Janelle Monae and Joe Alwyn, “Harriet” was released in 2019 via Focus Features.
In addition to “Remember the Titans” and “Harriet,” the writer-producer’s credits include: “Ali,” “The Harlem Renaissance,” “Misty” and “This Little Light.” Howard received many accolades over his career; he was a two-time winner of the NAACP Image Award, a recipient of the prestigious Christopher Award, the Howard University Paul Robeson Award for artistic excellence and the Heartland Film Festival Award for screenwriting excellence.
As his career continued, the screenwriter became a long-time contributor to the Huffington Post, writing several widely-read essays including “The Whitewashing of James Brown,” “Affirmative Action for White Boys” and “The Biggest Loser.”
Dedicated to education, Howard started the Lowell Fisher Scholarship and the Dr. Howard Lonsdale Scholarship, taught a master level seminar titled “True Story to Screen” at Howard University and maintained an active mentorship program helping minority students gain admission to elite colleges.
Howard is survived by his sister Lynette Henley, brother Michael Henley, nieces Robyn Bacon and Valencia Kamara, nephew Robert Henley, a grand-niece, two grand-nephews and cousins Pierre Gatling and Patricia Cole.