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Ronald Bass
Ronald Jay Bass

(1942-03-26) March 26, 1942 (age 82)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
EducationStanford University (BA)
Yale University (MA)
Harvard University (JD)
Occupation(s)Screenwriter, film producer
Notable workRain Man
AwardsAcademy Award for Best Original Screenplay
Rain Man (1988)

Ronald Jay Bass (born March 26, 1942), sometimes credited as Ron Bass, is an American screenwriter and film producer. He won an Academy Award for writing the screenplay for Barry Levinson's film Rain Man, and films that Bass is associated with are regularly nominated for multiple motion picture awards. His films have grossed over $2 billion.[1][2]

Life and career


Bass was born in Los Angeles, California. From the age of 3 to 11, Bass was afflicted with an undiagnosed condition that kept him bedridden. His symptoms included respiratory problems and stomach pains with high fevers and nausea. It was during this illness, at age six, that Bass is said to have started writing.

During his teens, Bass began work on a novel, which he entitled Voleur. He completed this work at age 17 and showed it to his English teacher. He took her critique of his first completed project quite hard. She described the writing as very good, but she felt that it was too personal to be published. Bass's response was to later burn his manuscript. Later in life, Bass recalled "it was like the voice of God telling me I didn't have what it takes to be a writer, and I should find something practical to do with my life".[citation needed] Bass would revisit his teenage writings later in life.

Bass entered law studies, first at Stanford, then Yale, and finally at Harvard Law School, where he graduated in 1967 with a degree in law. He seemed quite confident about his future prospects, saying, "When I learned there was such a thing as entertainment law, I thought, 'This is where I belong'".[citation needed] Back in Los Angeles, Bass began a seventeen-year career practicing law in the entertainment business. He was successful, and eventually rose to the level of partner in his law firm.

Bass has worked with his sister Diane Bass, who served as an uncredited technical consultant on the film Rain Man.

As he moved up the career ladder in law, the love of writing that Bass had acquired as a child never left him. He started writing again, usually during the predawn hours before going to work. Writing and working at unusual hours became a lifelong habit of his. In 1974, he began to rework his novel Voleur, apparently from memory, as he had burned the manuscript in a fit of pique when he was 17. In 1978, he completed the work, renaming it The Perfect Thief (ISBN 0-515-04622-1). This was the first of his three published novels. In 1982, Bass published his second novel, Lime's crisis: A novel (ISBN 0-688-01025-3). The Lime referred to in the title is Harry Lime, the central mystery character of the 1949 motion picture The Third Man. On January 1, 1984, his third novel was published, The Emerald Illusion (ISBN 0-688-02622-2). The following year, he wrote the screenplay Code Name: Emerald, based on this novel. It was his debut as a screenwriter with a produced script.[3]

As a screenwriter, Bass is known for successfully working in collaboration with other writers, including Amy Tan on The Joy Luck Club and Al Franken on When a Man Loves a Woman. He also collaborated on the script for the 2022 film The King's Daughter.[citation needed]

Ron is currently under contract to write an original Screenplay entitled "Pegasus" for Pegasus Productions Corp.

"The Ronettes"


A small controversy has arisen over Bass's use of assistants to help him write screenplays. While it is common for screenwriters to employ assistants to help them with research and typing, Bass employs six or seven mostly female assistants that one journalist dubbed "The Ronettes". According to Bass, his assistants help him in research and also in critiquing his scripts. They enable him to write, revise, or polish a comparatively large number of screenplays each year.[4][5]







Please see the WGA screenwriting credit system for an explanation of the terms story by, screenplay by, and written by. Also note that under the rules of the Writers Guild of America, Bass has not received on-screen credit for every script he has contributed to. It is thought that Bass has helped to write or consulted on more than 100 screenplays (not all of which have necessarily been produced).[citation needed]

Film Year Writing Credit Producing Credit Alternate Name Credit Additional Information
Code Name: Emerald 1985 Screenplay Adapted from his novel The Emerald Illusion
Gardens of Stone 1987 Screenplay
Black Widow Written
Rain Man 1988 screenplay Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay
Sleeping with the Enemy 1991 Screenplay
The Joy Luck Club 1993 Screenplay Producer
Reunion 1994 Teleplay Made-for-television
When a Man Loves a Woman Written Executive producer Role as "AA Man #1"
The Enemy Within Teleplay as Ron Bass Made-for-television
Waiting to Exhale 1995 Screenplay Executive producer
Dangerous Minds Screenplay
My Best Friend's Wedding 1997 Written Producer
Stepmom 1998 Screenplay Executive producer as Ron Bass
What Dreams May Come Screenplay Executive producer as Ron Bass
How Stella Got Her Groove Back Screenplay Executive producer as Ron Bass
Snow Falling on Cedars 1999 Screenplay Producer as Ron Bass
Entrapment Story & screenplay Executive producer as Ron Bass
Swing Vote Written as Ron Bass Made-for-television
Invisible Child Story as Ron Bass Made-for-television
Border Line Story & teleplay as Ron Bass Made-for-television
Passion of Mind 2000 Written Producer as Ron Bass
The Lazarus Child 2004 Screenplay Executive producer
Mozart and the Whale 2005 Written Producer as Ron Bass
Amelia 2009 Screenplay Executive producer
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan 2011 Screenplay
Before We Go 2014 Screenplay
Persuasion 2022 Screenplay
Pegasus 2022 Screenplay In Development


  1. ^ Friend, Tad (17 January 2000). "The Two-Billion-Dollar Man". The New Yorker – via
  2. ^ "The Making of 'Rain Man'". Rolling Stone.
  3. ^ Dutka, Elaine (10 August 1997). "Ron Bass, Screenwriting Machine" – via LA Times.
  4. ^ "Bfi | Sight & Sound | Bass Hysteria". Archived from the original on 2006-02-14. Retrieved 2006-02-18.
  5. ^ "So Long, Soho House! Why Hollywood Players Are Working in Offbeat Offices". The Hollywood Reporter. 4 August 2017.