Obituary: Paul D. Zimmerman

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The Independent Online
ON HIS working trips to Hollywood, Paul Zimmerman would stay at one de luxe hotel or another, on the studio's ticket, writes David Freeman (further to the obituary by Paul Schuman and Michael Palin, 8 March).

When his work was done, he'd often come and stay with my wife and me at our house. Film students would seek him out, calling at odd hours. Paul always read their scripts and, except in the most dire cases, said something encouraging. He was never sure that was the right strategy. Of his own career, he always said that he had been 'encouraged to death'. He meant that the studios kept hiring him, but they never made the scripts he wrote.

Paul lived in Pennsylvania, far from Hollywood. He spent years puzzling through that decision, wondering if he would have had more pictures made if he had developed a taste for Southern California. The answer, as I and others always told him, was clear: yes, of course. But none of them would have been King of Comedy.