Scope and Content of Collection
Title: T.S. (Thomas S.) Cook Collection
Collection Number: WGF-MS-021
Cook, T. S. (Thomas S.), 1947-2013
Extent: 9.2 linear feet
Writers Guild Foundation Archive
Los Angeles, California 90048
Abstract: The T.S. (Thomas S.) Cook Collection, 1967-2008, consists primarily of Cook’s scripts, produced and unproduced, written for
film, episodic television and television movies, including his Academy Award nominated The China Syndrome (1979). Materials
include outlines, research notes, correspondence and clippings related to his writing projects, as well as Cook’s Olivetti
typewriter and picket signs from Writers Guild of America strikes.
Language of Material: English
Available by appointment only.
The responsibility to secure copyright and publication permission rests with the researcher.
T.S. (Thomas S.) Cook Collection. Writers Guild Foundation Archive
Donated in two parts by Cook’s wife, Monique de Varenness, on February 9, 2015 and September 10, 2015.
Born on August 25, 1947 in Cleveland, Ohio, Thomas Stephen Cook was the son of Horace, a business executive, and Betty Cook,
a homemaker. He earned a bachelor's degree from Denison University in Ohio in 1969 and a master of fine arts from the University
of Iowa Writer’s Workshop in 1973. There he met Monique de Varennes, also a writer, whom he married in 1975. The couple had
two children, Katherine and Christopher.
Cook began his career in 1974 as a technical editor for engineering firm ITT. He earned his first screen credits on episodes
of Baretta, The Paper Chase and Project U.F.O. in the 1970s. Cook also wrote a number of episodes of the CBS series Airwolf
in 1984-85 and served as supervising producer on 15 episodes.
T. S. Cook was best known for co-writing the screenplay for 1979’s nuclear power thriller The China Syndrome with Mike Gray
and James Bridges. They shared Academy Award, Golden Globe, and BAFTA screenplay nominations, as well as received a Writers
Guild Award for Original Drama – Screen.
A Writers Guild, West member since 1975, prolific writer Cook penned numerous Made-for-TV movies and television series over
four decades. His TV movie writing or co-writing credits include Red Flag: The Ultimate Game (1981), for which he received
a 1982 WGA nomination, Attack on Fear (1982), Out of the Darkness (1985), Nightbreaker (1989), for which Cook received a Writers
Guild Award, High Desert Kill (1989), In the Line of Duty: Street War (1992), The Switch (1992), Texas Justice (1994), The
Tuskegee Airmen (1995), for which he shared an Emmy nomination, Forgotten Sins (1995), a small-screen remake of Western classic
High Noon (2000), the Lucille Ball biopic Lucy (2003), The Hive (2007), and NYC: Tornado Warning (2008). Cook’s TV series
writing or co-writing credits include Airwolf, The Paper Chase, and Baretta.
An active Guild member and tenacious advocate for writers over the course of his career, Cook served on the WGAW’s Board of
Directors (1995-97), and was a strike captain during the WGA’s 1988 and 2007-08 strikes. He also served on several WGAW committees,
including Board Nominating (1991, 2008), Officers Nominating (1989, 2007), Election Review (2011-13), Committee on Professional
Status of Writers [CPSW – Television, 1997-2002), Publications (1981-86), Television Writers Council (1999-2002), Strike Fund
(1988), Strike Planning and Service (1989), Waiver (1995-2002), and Writers Image Campaign (1996-97). From 2006 through 2013,
Cook served as a Pension & Health Trustee, first as an alternate trustee from 2006-11, then as a principal P&H trustee until
his death. Cook also served on the Writers Guild Foundation’s Board of Directors for several terms (1998-2007), as well as
acted as Treasurer (2002-06) and chair of the WGF’s Oral History Committee.
In recent years, Cook turned his energies to play writing. He was a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre, a co-founder of Fierce
Backbone Theatre Company, and a board member of the latter from 2007 until the onset of his illness. Among a number of productions,
his play “Ravensridge” had its world premiere at the Fremont Centre Theatre in 2007.
Cook passed away at age 65 on January 5, 2013 at his home in Hollywood after a battle with cancer. He is survived by his wife,
Monique de Varennes, his children, Kate and Chris; his mother, Betty; and his brothers, Jim and Bill. He was posthumously
named the 2014 WGA Morgan Cox Award honoree in recognition of his Guild service.
Adapted from a December 11, 2013 WGAw press release at http://www.wga.org/content/default.aspx?id=5365
Scope and Content of Collection
Series I: Film, 1976-1980 contains material related to Cook’s screenplay The China Syndrome (1979), including notes, outlines,
script drafts, and correspondence regarding the development of the film. Also included are press clippings and ephemera related
to The China Syndrome such as programs and tickets stubs from the 1980 Academy Awards, in which Cook was a nominee, and the
1980 WGA Awards, in which Cook was a winner.
Series II: Television, 1975-2007 contains scripts, notes and correspondence for a variety of Cook’s television projects.
Subseries A: Made-for-Television Movies, 1979-2007 contains material related to the development and production of over a dozen
TV movies that Cook wrote or co-wrote. Items include notes, outlines, script drafts, correspondence, photos and press clippings.
Films represented include Red Flag: The Ultimate Game (1981), for which he received a 1982 WGA nomination, and Nightbreaker
(1985), for which he won a WGA Award. Also in this series are the Emmy-nominated The Tuskegee Airmen (1995), the Lucille
Ball biopic Lucy (2003), and an unproduced teleplay based on the memoir Blown Away by Herb Payson. Subseries B: Television
Series, 1975-1985 contains material created during Cook’s time on the television series’ Baretta, Project U.F.O., Paper Chase
and Airwolf. Items include script drafts, outlines, notes, and photos.
Series III: Unproduced Works, 1976-2008 contains research notes, outlines, treatments, correspondence and drafts of unproduced
screenplays, TV movies and TV pilots. Some material is based on factual events or books and others are fictional. More high
profile projects include teleplays for miniseries’ about Bob Hope and Hugh Hefner, a teleplay about Russian spy Alexander
Litvinenko and several projects based around the work of real life criminal sociologist Richard Ofshe.
Series IV: Artifacts, 1967-2008, consist of several pins, WGA hats and picket signs from the 1988 and 2007-2008 WGA labor
strikes as well as personal photos and a framed caricature portrait. The highlight is an Olivetti Underwood Linea88 typewriter
that Cook used for many years, including while writing The China Syndrome.
Academy Awards (Motion pictures)
Writers Guild of America--Awards
China syndrome (Motion picture)