Stirling Dale Silliphant was an American screenwriter and producer. His father, Sterling Silliphant, was a Canadian who immigrated to the United States in 1911, becoming a U.S. citizen in 1916. His mother was Ethel M. Silliphant. He had one brother, Leigh, who was three years younger.\nBorn in Detroit, Michigan, his family moved to Glendale, California when he was a child. He graduated from Hoover High School, and was educated at the University of Southern California. He may be best known for his screenplay for In the Heat of the Night, for which he won an Academy Award in 1967, and co-creating the television series Route 66. Other features as screenwriter include the Irwin Allen productions The Towering Inferno and The Poseidon Adventure, adapting both films from previously published novels. In the case of The Towering Inferno, he was tasked with blending two separate novels, The Tower, by Richard Martin Stern, and The Glass Inferno, by Thomas N. Scortia and Frank M. Robinson, into a single screenplay.\nHe was a close friend of Bruce Lee, under whom he studied martial arts. Lee was featured in the Silliphant-penned detective movie Marlowe and four episodes of the series Longstreet.