Paul De Meo, screenwriter of The Rocketeer, dead at 64

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Mar 7, 2018, 10:12 PM EST (Updated)

Writer/producer Paul De Meo, who specialized in science-fiction and comic book projects, died on Feb. 26 at age 64.

De Meo got his start in the industry with Trancers, a script he co-wrote with his long-time partner and friend Danny Bilson. They wrote several other sci-fi scripts, including Zone Troopers and Eliminators before they started working on an adaptation of Dave Stevens' The Rocketeer comic book. Stevens liked their ideas for the film and gave them a free option to the story.

Originally conceived as a low-budget film shot in black and white, the trio decided to focus on making The Rocketeer a big-budget film. They shopped it around for years, but this was 1986. Studios weren't keen to spend money on films based on comic books. Disney eventually purchased the property, with an eye towards marketing. De Meo and Bilson were hired and fired three times by Disney over the course of five years. It was the pair's third major rewrite that finally got the film greenlit.

De Meo and Bilson turned towards television next, and created the original The Flash TV show in 1990. The pair also created a number of other action-adventure TV series with sci-fi flourishes, such as Human Target, Viper, and The Sentinel. The two also wrote comic books, including The Flash: Fastest Man Alive in 2006. De Meo wrote a number of video games, as well, including several James Bond titles, Darksiders II, and Devil's Third.

Bilson announced his friend's death on Twitter. No cause of death was announced. De Meo is survived by his wife Lauren Glassman and his daughters Miranda and Annabella.