Michael Blake

Although his name may have always been synonymous with the Best Picture-winning film "Dances with Wolves" (1990), for which he penned the likewise award-winning screenplay, Michael Blake deserved recognition first and foremost for leading a fascinating life. A childhood moving from state to state, a turn in the Air Force, and a period of living in his car and working odd jobs all led Blake up to the development of his wildly celebrated feature film, and two decades of additional novels. Michael Blake was born Michael Lennox Webb in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. As a child, Blake lived with his family in Texas and California. His first career path was that of journalism, which he studied at the University of New Mexico and took up as a columnist for the base newspaper at Walker Air Force Base during his tenure with the American military. The 1980s were a difficult era for Blake. Although he found early success with the development of his screenplay for "Stacy's Knights" (1983) into a drama starring Kevin Costner, his dedication to making it as a writer left him homeless for several years. He lived in his car, and at one point with friends Viggo Mortensen and Exene Cervenka, to whom he dedicated his first published novel, Dances with Wolves (1988). It spawned the Academy Award-winning feature film "Dances with Wolves" (1990), for which Blake also wrote the screenplay. Blake's former colleague Costner directed and starred in the picture. Despite being diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease in 1992, Blake continued to write and publish novels and nonfiction books. In 1993, Blake married Marianne Mortensen, cousin of his friend Viggo. Some of Blake's later works included The Holy Road (2001), the autobiography Like a Running Dog (2002), Indian Yell (2006), Twelve the King (2009), and Into the Stars (2011). On May 2, 2015, Blake died after complications from a lengthy illness.