Harold Livingston, famous Hollywood screenwriter who also helped found the Israeli Air Force, dead at 97

A legendary man who was known as an author and Hollywood screenwriter in America, but hailed as a heroic volunteer aviator in Israel, has passed away after living for nearly a century.

Harold Livingston, who wrote the screenplay for “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” after first helping Israel gain independence and create its renowned Air Force, died Thursday at his California home at the age of 97, according to his nephew Bobby, the Los Angeles Times reported.

He is survived by two daughters, Leah and Eve, and a son, David, as well as two granddaughters and his nephew.

Helped Israel gain independence, found the Israeli Air Force

According to The Times of Israel, Livingston was born in 1924 near Boston, Massachusetts, and came of age as a radio operator for the U.S. Army Air Force in World War II

After the war concluded, the L.A. Times noted that Livingston worked briefly for Trans World Airlines before settling down with an advertising job in Boston until 1948, when he was recruited by a former colleague at TWA to assist the nascent Israeli bid for independence.

He joined a volunteer squadron of American Jewish aviators who staged out of then-Czechoslovakia to help surreptitiously ferry ammunition, weapons, aircraft, and other supplies into what was then still the British Mandate of Palestine to help arm the Jewish militias fighting to carve out the future independent Jewish nation.

That group he helped form, a semi-autonomous outfit known as Air Transport Command, was eventually integrated into what is now known as the Israeli Air Force.

Livingston initially rebelled at the development and led a near-mutiny against the new Israeli government, but eventually relented and joined the service to serve out his commission before returning home to America, where his career as a novelist and screenwriter eventually began, according to the L.A. Times.

Prolific novelist and screenwriter

According to Variety, the 1979 “Star Trek” movie, the first of what has since become a box office smash hit franchise, was arguably Livingston’s most well-known credit in his Hollywood career.

However, he was also a writer for numerous TV shows, including popular series like “Mission: Impossible,” “The Six Million Dollar Man,” and “Fantasy Island,” among many others.

In addition, Livingston also wrote several popular novels. One of those, according to the L.A. Times, 1954’s “The Coasts of the Earth,” was a fictional account of his Israeli service that ended up winning the prestigious Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship Award.

This man was an absolute legend and hero who helped defeat Nazi tyranny, helped found and defend the Jewish state of Israel, and then went on to entertain millions of Americans and others worldwide with his incredible writing abilities.

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