Donald Malcolm Wrye

Filmmaker Donald Malcolm Wrye died at home on May 15.

Wrye, a lifelong California resident, is survived by his wife of 28 years, Kathryn Dowling Wrye.

Wrye, the son of the late Frederick and Alice Wrye, was born in Orange County. He was a graduate of UCLA film school and began his career by making documentary films throughout the world. He received Academy Award nominations for two of those documentaries, “The Numbers Start with the River” and “An Impression of John Steinbeck.” 

Some of Wrye’s best-known works include “Death Be Not Proud” and “The Entertainer,” as well as feature films “Ice Castles” and “The House of God.” His other works include “Face of Rage,” “Heart of Steel,” “Divorce Wars” (for which he won the Humanitas Prize), “Fire on the Mountain,” “Stranger in the Family” and “Lucky Day” (for which he won his second Humanitas Prize). Perhaps his most acclaimed work was the 15-hour epic miniseries, “Amerika.”

Wrye was a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and served for many years on the Documentary Feature Film committee. 

“Donald loved the Pacific Ocean,” a loved one shared. “He loved trees and wild flowers and sunsets. He had been an avid surfer and enjoyed golf and sailing. He was also a supreme conversationalist and was admired for his great wit, his humor and his well-informed thinking.”

In addition to his wife, Donald is survived by his three children: Gabriel D. Wrye, Ariel C. Wrye and Catalina P. Wrye. He is also survived by three grandchildren: Esme, Levi and Kagan; two brothers, Terry and Richard; and sister-in-law, Karen.  He is survived by his children’s spouses, Heather Kleisner and Kate Morrison; his mother-in-law, Barbara Dowling; many nieces, nephews, brother and sister-in-laws, and his long-time friend, producer Martin Elfand. 

He was preceded in death by his son, Connor M. Wrye.

His unwavering commitment to his strongly held beliefs was only outdone by his gentleness, kindness and generosity as a husband, father, and friend,” a family member shared. “His family cherished him.”

A private memorial service will take place in Malibu.