‘The King’s Speech' Writer David Seidler Dead At 86

By Victor Winston, updated on March 17, 2024

The film world has lost a luminary.

According to Deadline, David Seidler, the gifted storyteller behind the Academy Award-winning screenplay of The King’s Speech, has died at age 86 while fly-fishing in New Zealand.

David Seidler's death on March 16 marks the end of a remarkable journey for a man whose own struggles with a stutter inspired the compelling narrative of The King’s Speech. The film was celebrated for its artistic excellence and its empathetic portrayal of King George VI's battle with speech.

It garnered Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor, highlighting Seidler's profound impact on cinema.

Seidler’s childhood was shadowed by a significant stutter, a challenge that informed his later work and enabled him to bring authenticity and depth to the screenplay of The King’s Speech. His ability to transform personal adversity into a universally acclaimed story speaks volumes about his talent and resilience.

More Than an Award-Winning Screenwriter

In addition to his Oscar-winning success, David Seidler had an illustrious career, contributing to the film industry with projects like Onassis: The Richest Man in the World and Tucker: The Man and His Dream. His versatility and dedication to storytelling extended beyond films to include documentaries, limited series, and feature films that were in development at the time of his passing.

Seidler's work has not only won him prestigious awards, including two BAFTAs and the Humanitas Prize, but it has also resonated with audiences around the globe. His talents as a storyteller were deeply admired by his peers and those who knew him personally. Jeff Aghassi, Seidler's manager, reflected on his passion and mastery of storytelling.

David was in the place he loved most in the world—New Zealand—doing what gave him the greatest peace: fly-fishing. If given the chance, it would have been exactly as he had scripted it. Seidler was a passionate teller of stories—whether among friends gathered for a meal, often also cooked by Seidler, or the audiences whose attention he captured through his scripts and plays.

Remembering David Seidler: From Stutter to Stage

The stage version of The King’s Speech is another testament to Seidler’s enduring legacy. Translated into more than six languages and performed across four continents, the play's broad appeal mirrors the universal themes of perseverance and friendship in the film.

However, its Broadway run was abruptly halted in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic, a situation reflective of the unforeseen challenges arts and culture sectors worldwide have faced.

Seidler leaves behind two adult children, Marc and Maya, who mourn the loss of a remarkable individual and the rest of the world. Beyond awards and accolades, Seidler's greatest contribution may well be the inspiration he has provided to countless individuals facing personal challenges, proving that obstacles can be the source of one's greatest achievements.

His passing in the tranquil settings of New Zealand, engaged in the serene activity of fly-fishing he greatly cherished, adds a poignant grace to the end of his remarkable life. It is a departure that, in the words of his manager, aligns perfectly with how Seidler himself might have written his final scene.


David Seidler's extraordinary life and career have left an indelible mark on film and beyond. His journey from a young boy battling a stutter to an Oscar-winning screenwriter is a narrative of resilience, creativity, and the transformative power of storytelling. He may have traversed the final river of his life, but his stories and the lessons they impart will continue to flow in the hearts and minds of those he touched.

About Victor Winston

Victor is a freelance writer and researcher who focuses on national politics, geopolitics, and economics.

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