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Jack Rosenthal dies

by: Caroline Westbrook - Last updated: 2004-05-29

Jack Rosenthal

Jack Rosenthal

Top writer Jack Rosenthal, who penned the acclaimed BBC drama The Barmitzvah Boy, has died of cancer aged 72.

Rosenthal, who was married to actress Maureen Lipman for 30 years, never hid his Jewish roots, bringing much of his background into his work.


As well as writing The Barmitzvah Boy, which was shown on BBC1 in the 70s, he also wrote The Evacuees, based on his own experiences of being sent to Blackpool during World War II, and Spend Spend Spend, about Pools winner Viv Nicholson. All three plays won Bafta awards.


Jack Maurice Rosenthal, who was born in Manchester in September 1931, and whose parents Sam and Leah worked in a raincoat factory, started his career in advertising before joining Granada Television as a researcher in 1956. Eventually he become a scriptwriter for Coronation Street. It was while making the programme that Rosenthal met his wife Lipman.


His other work included co-writing the screenplay for the Jewish epic Yentl, starring Barbra Streisand, which was released in 1983. His TV play, London’s Burning, about the lives of firefighters, formed the basis for the long-running ITV series. 


He is survived by Lipman, a son, Adam and a daughter, Amy.