Bob Ellis, Australian writer and journalist, Died at 73


Robert James “Bob” Ellis was born on May 10, 1942, and died on April 3, 2016.

He was an Australian writer, journalist, film-maker and political commentator.

Bob was a student at the University of Sydney at the same time as other notable Australians including Clive James, Germaine Greer, Les Murray, John Bell, Ken Horler and Mungo McCallum.

He resided in Sydney with the author and screenwriter Anne Brooksbank, his wife; they had three children.

Bob Ellis was a regular contributor to the Nation Review in the 1970s and subsequently contributed to Fairfax Media newspapers and the National Times.

Ellis became a popular playwright, usually working in collaboration.

During 1970, Bob and Michael Boddy (1934–2014) became known for co-writing The Legend of King O’Malley, a musical play based on the life of King O’Malley.

He and his wife also owned the Stables Theatre in Kings Cross, Sydney, during which time it became home to the Griffin Theatre Company, from 1975 to 1986

It was sold in 1986 for $200,000.

He wrote several other film scripts, notably The Nostradamus Kid (1992), Cactus (1986, with Paul Cox), My First Wife (1984, with Paul Cox), Where the Green Ants Dream (Wo die grünen Ameisen träumen) (1984, with Werner Herzog), Man of Flowers (1983, with Paul Cox), Goodbye Paradise (1983), …Maybe This Time (1981, with Anne Brooksbank), Fatty Finn (1980) and Newsfront (1978).

However, most of his film scripts, as with his plays, were written in collaboration with other writers.

During 1980, Don Ellis signed a contract with the New South Wales Film Corporation to write ten feature film scripts over two years for $7,000 for each script, with a payment of $12,000 for the second draft if they wanted to make the movie.

Apparently, he says he presented them with 33 ideas, they chose five and he chose five.

Ellis also directed several films, including The Nostradamus Kid (1992), Warm Nights on a Slow Moving Train (1988), Unfinished Business (1985) and Run Rabbit, Run (2007).

As a writer for television, his work includes the miniseries True Believers (with co-author Matt Carroll) and Infamous Victory: Ben Chifley’s Battle for Coal (2008), with co-author Geoff Burton, made for Film Australia.

He was the winner of the Australian Film Institute Award for Best Screenplay for Newsfront (1978, with Anne Brooksbank and Phillip Noyce) and for My First Wife (1984, with Paul Cox).

Bob Ellis passed away at 73 yrs old.